IMC sees problems from IRA stepping down
There has been a dramatic use of hard drugs in the North of Ireland as
a result of the peace process, according to a mamber of a
government-mandated ceasefire watchdog body.
John Alderdice, a member of the International Monitoring Commission
(IMC), said in New York that a decrease in IRA policing actions coupled
with an increase in drug-pushing by unionist paramilitaries was causing
what he said was a "negative peace dividend".
He said that the Provisional IRA had always been very tough on drugs,
partially because drug users were more susceptible to police pressure,
but that "social control" was "breaking down".
In recent weeks, the hardline Continuity IRA has begun issuing warnings
to drug dealers and carrying out punishment shootings in republican
A spokesman for the group said last week that the group was acting in
response to community appeals and "was not putting ourselves forward
police nationalist districts".
Another IMC member, John Grieve, said that the stepping down of the
Provisional IRA's general headquarters staff, described in the latest
IMC report, was making it more difficult for the organisation to "go
away", as demanded by unionists.
"There is a contradiction there. You need the structure to oversee
dismantling of the IRA, but if you keep the structure in place, people
are going to say: 'Oh look, they are still around,' " he said.