654. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the four person international oversight of paramilitaries established under the Fresh Start Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32619/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that the two Governments established the four person Independent Reporting Commission in order to facilitate monitoring of the implementation of the measures aimed at ending paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland, agreed under the Fresh Start Agreement.
The Commission’s functions are to:
- report annually (or on such further occasions as required) on progress towards ending continuing paramilitary activity connected with Northern Ireland;
- report on the implementation of the relevant measures of the three administrations - critical here will be the NI Executive’s Strategy to tackle paramilitary activity and associated criminality; and
- consult the UK Government and relevant law enforcement agencies, the Irish Government and relevant law enforcement agencies and, in Northern Ireland, the Executive, PSNI, statutory agencies, local councils, communities and civic society organisations.
The Commission has been actively engaged in carrying out its functions since its appointment, engaging with a range of relevant stakeholders, North and South, including with my Department. It published its first report in October 2018.
I informed the Deputy of my intention to meet with the Commission in response to question 26959/18 of 20 June last. I can confirm that I met the Commission on 26 June to hear further on its progress with its work. At that time, the Commission also met separately with the Garda Commissioner, the Director General of the Prison Service and the Criminal Assets Bureau.
I look forward to the Commission's second report which it is intended will be provided later this year.