9 June 2017
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD has today published the Independent Reporting Commission Bill 2017.
The Bill will establish the Independent Reporting Commission in this jurisdiction, giving formal effect to an important aspect of the Fresh Start Agreement that set out a number of actions aimed at bringing to an end paramilitary activity connected with Northern Ireland.
The Tánaiste said, “The Independent Reporting Commission will play an important role in monitoring and reporting to the Governments on actions being taken and on progress being made to end the malign influence of paramilitarism on communities in Northern Ireland.
In the Fresh Start Agreement, the Irish and British Governments together with the Northern Ireland Parties agreed a series of initiatives to address paramilitarism and its associated criminality. The Commission will monitor the implementation of those measures and report on progress to the two Governments.
The Commissioners nominated by the Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive have been engaged in extensive preparatory work with a strong focus on the range of community and cross-sectoral interests in Northern Ireland.
This Bill will give effect in law to the Commission in Ireland.”
Note for Editors
· Establishment of the Independent Reporting Commission (IRC) 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 2016 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 to which the Irish and British Governments 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.