IMC reports again
The third report of the Independent Monitoring Commission has
been dismissed by Irish republicans.
The body was set up outside the terms of the 1998 Good Friday
Agreement in response to lobbying by the unionist parties.
It reports on paramilitary activity, drawing on British police
and military sources, to embarrass Sinn Fein in the political
talks process and justify fines and sanctions against the party.
Its third report claimed there was a reduction in activity by
the Provisional IRA from March to October this year, and that
there was a fall in the incidence of IRA "punishment" attacks.
"PIRA has committed no murders and has engaged in a lower level
of violence than in the preceding period, committing fewer
paramilitary shootings and assaults," the IMC reported.
But it saw no signs of the organisation scaling down its
capability. It said the IRA was continuing to recruit, although
in small numbers, and gather intelligence.
It blamed the IRA for a multi-million pound robbery of goods
from a store outside Belfast, in May and said it was "engaged in
significant amounts of smuggling".
"In the South of Ireland certain of the organised (IRA) criminal
activity seems to have been closed down, and we have found no
recent evidence of violent paramilitary activity," it added.
"We conclude that since our last report [ in April] there is no
fundamental change in the capacity of the organisation or its
maintenance of a state of preparedness, but we also find no
evidence of activity that might presage a return to a
paramilitary campaign," the IMC stated.
The commission also reported that the Republican INLA, Real IRA
and Continuity IRA, as well as the unionist paramilitary UVF,
Red Hand Commando, UDA, LVF, were all engaged in violence and
organised crime. It also referred to UVF racist attacks and some
"vicious" UDA sectarian attacks.
Sinn Fein said supporters of the Good Friday Agreement could not
"pander to the IMC and allow it to exert a negative influence"
over the peace process.
The party's policing spokesman Gerry Kelly pointed out that the
reoprts were based on material provided by 'securocrat'
organisations opposed to the peace process and opposed to the
Good Friday agreement.
"Previous reports have already been exposed as riddled with
inaccuracies. Given these facts the IMC has no credibility
within the broad nationalist and republican community and the
contents of this latest report are of little interest to it.
" The focus of Sinn Fein at this time is to see the Good Friday
Agreement implemented. We will not allow the IMC or anyone else
to subvert that Agreement. The IMC operates entirely outside the
terms of the Agreement. Parties cannot on one hand claim to
support the Good Friday Agreement and on the other pander to the
IMC and allow it to exert a negative influence over the
Mr Mark Durkan, the SDLP leader, countered saying there was no
such thing as an acceptable level of paramilitary activity.
"Sinn Fein in their predictable, dismissive attacks are trying
to ignore the facts of what the IMC is reporting on. They are
neither figments of the IMC's imaginations or other peoples
Ulster Unionist Sir Reg Empey said the IMC was the brainchild of
his party and those who "slated [ it] as a toothless and a
meaningless body" were now fully using its findings to assess
their own political position.
The DUP leader Ian Paisley, said: "Now is the time for action
from the government... It is time to get tough with Sinn