15 December 2016
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has published the General Scheme of the Independent Reporting Commission Bill. Following the Government’s approval of her proposal, the Tánaiste will now bring forward legislation as a matter of priority.
The Tánaiste said: “This very important legislation which will establish the Independent Reporting Commission. This international body will have a key role in supporting the implementation of the Fresh Start Agreement’s provisions aimed at ending paramilitary activity connected with Northern Ireland and tackling the criminality associated with it.”
The Irish and British Governments concluded an agreement in September to establish the Independent Reporting Commission (IRC), one of the commitments arising in the provisions of the Fresh Start Agreement addressing the legacy of paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.
Note to editors
· Establishment of the Independent Reporting Commission is an important element of the Fresh Start Agreement, agreed in Belfast in November 2015.
· The Programme for Government commits to the full implementation of the Fresh Start Agreement.
· The purpose of the IRC is to promote progress towards ending paramilitary activity connected with Northern Ireland, in the interests of long-term peace and stability and stable and inclusive devolved government in Northern Ireland
· An international agreement between the Irish and British Governments was signed on 13 September 2013 and provides for the establishment of the IRC as an independent body. The IRC will need to be established in the domestic law of each jurisdiction, as appropriate.
· The IRC will be a four-member international body established by the UK and Irish Governments. The UK Government and the Irish Government will nominate one member each and the Northern Ireland Executive will nominate two members.
· The nominations for membership of the IRC have been announced by the Irish and British Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive.
· The Government has nominated Mr. Tim O’Connor, a former Secretary to the President.
· The British Government has nominated Mr. Mitchell Reiss and the NI Executive has nominated Ms Monica McWilliams and Mr. John McBurney.