Ministers Coveney and Flanagan welcome publication of the second report of the Independent Reporting Commission

 

4 November, 2019

 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D. and Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., welcomed the publication today of the second report of the Independent Reporting Commission.

 

The Second 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 report finds that continued paramilitarism remains a stark reality of life in Northern Ireland, as exemplified, sadly, by three further paramilitary-related murders since the last Report; Jim Donegan, Ian Ogle and Lyra McKee.

 

It also highlights the continuation of the adverse impact on the efforts to implement the Fresh Start Agreement initiatives that the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive since January 2017 is having, while embracing the twin-track approach set out in the Fresh Start Agreement.

 

Speaking on the Report’s publication, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D. said,

 

“This Second report of the Independent Reporting Commission is a very important document.  It is a timely reminder to all of us of the continuing adverse impact on society in Northern Ireland of the culture of paramilitarism.”

 

“Tragically, since the publication of the first Commission report, we have witnessed the lethal malice of paramilitary gangs in the callous murders of Lyra McKee, Ian Ogle and Jim Donegan and the attempted bombings of PSNI officers.  The Second Report emphasises the need for the whole-of-society approach to ending paramilitarism set out in the Fresh Start Agreement.  While progress has been made across a range of measures, I would urge people on all sides in Northern Ireland, especially those in positions of political influence, to engage fully in this process of positive change for the people of Northern Ireland.”

 

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D. said,

 

“I welcome the second report of the Independent Reporting Commission. It provides an important and timely focus on what still needs to be done to tackle residual paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.

 

“The spectre of paramilitarism continues to afflict communities in Northern Ireland. Those involved are responsible for appalling and unacceptable crimes this year, including the murder of journalist Lyra McKee, attacks on the PSNI and punishment shootings and attacks in their own communities.

 

“There is an obligation to ensure a definitive end to paramilitarism in Northern Ireland, 21 years after the Good Friday Agreement.

 

“The IRC’s report highlights a range of areas where the Executive is acutely needed in order to take forward implementation of its Action Plan for tackling Paramilitarism, Criminality and Organised Crime, following the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement.

 

“The IRC’s report is one more reason why the political parties must urgently reach an agreement to operate the devolved power-sharing institutions again, in the interests of all of the people of Northern Ireland.

 

“I will continue to work intensively with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to press for an agreement between all of the political parties that achieves this without any further delay.”

 

Ministers Coveney and Flanagan expressed thanks to the Commissioners and their staff for this Report and congratulate them on their work to date.

 

ENDS…/

 

 

Notes for Editors