Ministers McEntee and Coveney welcome publication of the third report of the Independent Reporting Commission


17 November, 2020


The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, T.D. and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney T.D., have welcomed the publication today of the third report of the Independent Reporting Commission.


The Third 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 Reports of the Commission provide an invaluable insight and they set out a pathway to achieving progress both through the policing and criminal justice response and a response to the wider socio-economic factors that exist in the communities where paramilitaries continue to operate. 


This year the Commission highlights the return of the Northern Ireland Executive in January and the opportunity this provides for a re-set of the whole process of ending paramilitarism, with the political leadership, that is now possible.


Speaking on the Report’s publication, Minister McEntee said,


“This Third report of the Independent Reporting Commission sets out the stark reality that paramilitary activity remains in Northern Ireland. It continues to afflict the daily lives of too many people in communities in Northern Ireland. 


“The Report is a timely reminder to all of us of the need to continue working to the aim to bring an end to paramilitarism.


“Those involved in paramilitarism are responsible for appalling crimes including attacks on police officers, paramilitary style shootings and attacks in their own communities. That is simply unacceptable and we need to ensure pressure is maintained. 


“As well as reminding us of what needs to be done to tackle paramilitarism, the report also points to the steady progress on the Actions set out in the Executive Action Plan for Tackling Paramilitary Activity. Although much productive work has taken place in the last few years, it is clear that more needs to be done to tackle this ingrained problem.”


Minister Coveney said,


“I welcome the third report of the Independent Reporting Commission. It is a comprehensive report that highlights some of the good progress that has been made in dealing with paramilitarism in Northern Ireland in the last number of years. Despite this progress, paramilitaries continue to attack people and exert control over many communities.


“As the Commissioners recognise, more needs to be done to tackle paramilitarism on a longer-term and more sustained basis.


“For the first time, the Commission is able to present its report to the Northern Ireland Executive. As the Commissioners note, the return of the Executive represents a significant opportunity to make sustained progress in tackling residual paramilitarism in the coming years. Indeed, it is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to play our part to end paramilitarism – in the words of the Fresh Start Agreement –“once and for all”.”


Ministers McEntee and Coveney expressed thanks to the four Commissioners and officials for this Report and their work to date.




Notes for Editors


The 3rd Report of the IRC can be located here: