Legislation underpins efforts to tackle the paramilitarism & associated criminality
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D. has welcomed the passage of the Independent Reporting Commission Bill 2017.
The Minister said:
“In my previous role, I represented the Irish Government at the Talks which led to the Fresh Start Agreement. Tackling the scourge of paramilitarism and associated criminality which continues to destroy lives and communities was a key focus of those Talks. Almost 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement, the people of Northern Ireland should be able to live their lives without the toxic presence of paramilitaries in their communities.
“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 with the aim of bringing to end the malign influence of paramilitarism on communities in Northern Ireland.
“The Independent Reporting Commission will play an important role in monitoring and reporting to the Governments on the progress being made with the actions set out in the Agreement.
“The Independent Reporting Commission Bill will give formal effect in law to the Commission and I welcome its swift passage through both Houses of the Oireachtas.”
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 by then Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD and the UK’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, on 13 September 2016 and provides for the establishment of the IRC as an independent body.
- 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 Tim O’Connor, a former Secretary to the President and diplomat who was closely involved in the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement.
- The British Government has nominated Mitchell Reiss and the Northern Ireland Executive has nominated Monica McWilliams and John McBurney.
The Bill is available at www.oireachtas.ie.