IMC to be scrapped
IMC to be scrapped

A propoganda agency operated by MI5 and PSNI Special Branch is to be disbanded, it was announced on Thursday.

British Secretary Owen Paterson said the so-called ‘Independent Monitoring Commission’ will make a final report before being stood down.

The group operated for six years as a vehicle for bringing official British dogma on the conflict into the mainstream media.

It presented its 25th such report on IRA and paramilitary activity on Thursday.

The agency had become suspect after it endorsed the cold-blooded murder of loyalist ‘dissident’ Bobby Moffett in a UVF gun attack, carried out in front of shoppers on Belfast’s Shankill Road earlier this year.

Mr Paterson said the IMC had served its purpose.

“The IMC have played a crucial part in supporting and enabling the historic changes that we have seen in Northern Ireland over nearly 20 years,” he said.

Sinn Fein claimed the IMC was being wound up because it had served the political purpose of steadying unionist nerves over the peace process and the intentions of the now inactive Provisional IRA.

Describing the monitoring body as an “unnecessary safety blanket for Unionism”, Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd said that the IMC “should never have been formed in the first place” and that such a move was long overdue.

“We can only speculate on the amount of public money wasted in the vast expenses claims racked up by the handpicked mandarins who operated the IMC,” he added.


Meanwhile, the grand master of the Orange Order is to step down after 14 years.

Robert Saulters became grand master at the height of the Drumcree dispute in 1996.

Mr Saulters, seen as a relative hardliner, refused to meet with Sinn Fein and the Parades Commission.

Under Mr Saulter’s leadership the order severed its official link with the Ulster Unionist party and helped to collapse the political agreement signed earlier this year at Hillsborough to deal with the parades issue.

Saulters was also criticised for a recent article in which he claimed republican groupings were just “fancy names” for what he called the “Roman Catholic IRA.”


In other news, Sinn Fein Assembly member Billy Leonard will not stand as a candidate in next May’s assembly elections, the party has said.

A former Orangeman, RUC reservist and SDLP member, Mr Leonard became an MLA for East Derry in January after the retirement of Francie Brolly.

Mr Leonard said: “The time commitment required to be an effective public representative is significant.

“At this stage in my life there are a number of other interests I wish to pursue, including writing a book.”

He added: “It is simply not possible to pursue these interests and maintain my role as a public representative.”

Mr Leonard said he had made the decision to step down following discussions with his family, but he would continue to remain active within the party.

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