The Government today published the 26th and final Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission. The IMC was established following the signing of an international agreement in 2003 between both Governments. Under that agreement, the objective of the Commission was to 'carry out its functions.....with a view to promoting the transition to a peaceful society and stable and inclusive devolved Government in Northern Ireland.' The Commission was dissolved on 31 March 2011.
This Report was requested by the Irish and UK Governments at the time of publication of the 25 Report on paramilitary activity in November 2010.
The Report is an overview of the work of the Commission since its establishment in January 2004. It gives an account of the changes that have taken place during that period, its impact on developments in Northern Ireland and its contribution to the normalisation of politics in Northern Ireland.
With regard to paramilitary activity the Report states that the level of paramilitary activity has decreased significantly during the period, although the threat against PSNI officers from dissident groups remains.
On the political front the Commission’s term saw the development of politics in Northern Ireland from a situation where the Assembly had been suspended at the time that its work began to a situation where preparations were in train for new Assembly elections following the completion of a full Assembly term.
On security normalisation, the Report states that this was achieved over a period of two years.
Commenting on the publication of the report, the Minister for Justice and Equality and for Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter TD, said: "This Report brings to a closure an important chapter in the transition of Northern Ireland from one defined by terrorist conflict to one where politics without the bullet is now the norm. The contribution of the IMC to that development cannot be overstated and will be clear for everyone to see."
The members of the Commission were Mr. Joe Brosnan, retired Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Lord Alderdice, former leader of the NI Alliance Party, Mr. John Grieve, former UK police officer and Mr. Dick Kerr, former Deputy Director of the CIA. Thanking the members of the IMC Minister Shatter said: "On my own behalf and that of the Government I want to express our deep appreciation to each member of the Commission for their dedication and commitment to the task which was entrusted to them. Their common purpose and determination to see normal politics take root in Northern Ireland was evident from their Reports which did not hold back from stating what needed to said on occasion. They are truly deserving of our thanks."
The report is available on the Department of Justice and Equality website - www.justice.ie
4th July 2011