Paramilitary report soon to be given to NI parties



Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers
Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers

A report on the status of paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, commissioned by the UK government, is due to be presented to political parties on Thursday.

A three-person panel was appointed last month by Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers to conduct an investigation into the alleged continued operations of the IRA, as well as the level of loyalist paramilitary activity.

The panel was made up of Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC, Rosalie Flanagan, and Stephen Shaw QC.

The UK government said all three had “legal expertise” and an in-depth knowledge of security issues and Northern Ireland politics.

The report’s conclusions could help break the political deadlock in Northern Ireland, which saw the largest unionist party withdraw from the Northern Ireland Executive.

Northern Ireland’s acting first minister Arlene Foster has said theDemocratic Unionist Party (DUP) would “seriously consider” ending its boycott of the Executive if the report indicates “substantial progress” on the issue.

However, the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement poses another serious challenge to the Executive.

Legislation proposed by the UK government to implement the Agreement has been rejected by Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP).