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Ministers McEntee & Coveney Welcome 4th Report Of Independent Reporting Commission.

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee TD, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Simon Coveney TD, welcomed the publication today of the fourth report of the Independent Reporting Commission (IRC).

Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Simon Coveney

The Fourth Report sets out the Commission’s further assessment of progress to date on the implementation of the provisions of the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement that are designed to tackle paramilitary activity and associated criminality, and bringing an end to paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.

The Commission reports that paramilitary activity remains a stark reality of life in Northern Ireland and describes it as a clear and present danger.

The Reports of the Commission provide an invaluable insight into the work that is being done to tackle paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland and they set out a pathway to achieving progress, both through the policing and criminal justice response and a response to the wider socio-economic factors that exist in the communities where paramilitaries continue to operate.

This year the Commission highlights that as a result of the major focus that has been brought to bear on tackling paramilitarism following the Fresh Start Agreement, there are now a whole range of actions and initiatives in place that simply did not exist before and that these are now beginning to have real effect on the ground. There is of course still work to be done and the IRC sets out some further recommendations, building on their previous reports.

Speaking on the Report’s publication, Minister McEntee said,

“This fourth report of the Independent Reporting Commission sets out the stark reality that paramilitary activity remains a clear and present danger in Northern Ireland.
These groups carry out horrendous crimes such as paramilitary style shootings, attacks on police officers and attacks in their own communities. As well as this appalling physical violence, the Commission focuses on coercive control in this Report and the harm that it causes to the communities that are in the grip of this fearful reality.
Paramilitarism, and the associated criminality that we witness, is simply unacceptable and something that our communities should not have to endure. We need to ensure pressure is maintained to bring this activity to an end.
I welcome that the IRC reports that the range of actions and initiatives commenced on foot of Fresh Start are now beginning to have real effect on the ground. There is of course still work to be done and we will continue working with our UK and Northern Ireland counterparts, and the Independent Reporting Commission on tackling this ingrained problem.”

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Simon Coveney T.D. said,

“I welcome the fourth report of the Independent Reporting Commission.
The Commission continues to provide an invaluable and comprehensive overview of efforts to end continuing paramilitary activity.
The report makes clear that, while some progress has been made, many challenges remain. As the Commissioners recognise, the twin track approach – incorporating policing and justice measures and a wider approach that deals with systemic issues – is crucial. The Commissioners have highlighted the complex issues required in ending paramilitarism and I look forward to continuing to engage with them on this in the coming year.”

Ministers McEntee and Coveney expressed thanks to the Commissioners and officials for this Report and their work to date.

The full report is available to view HERE.

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