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Commissioners to monitor Northern Ireland paramilitary activity named

Four Commissioners have been appointed to monitor progress on tackling paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland, it has been announced.

The new Commissioners will serve on the Independent Reporting Commission (IRC). The new international body was created by the UK and Irish Governments under the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement.

The Commissioners are:

  • Former politician Professor Monica McWilliams
  • Solicitor John McBurney
  • Former Irish diplomat Tim O’Connor
  • Former U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Mitchell Reiss

The UK Government and the Irish Government nominated one member each, while the Northern Ireland Executive nominated two members.

The announcement came after First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness held talks with Secretary of State James Brokenshire and Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan on Wednesday.

The meeting to assess progress in implementing the Stormont House and Fresh Start agreements was held at Stormont House.

Minister Flanagan said: “All four Commissioners have a wealth of expertise and are well equipped to deal with the diverse issues relevant to the Commission’s work.

"Today’s announcement is an important step forward in establishing the Commission which will have a crucial role in our collective work to deal with the legacy of paramilitarism in society.”

Mr Flanagan added: “Today’s Review Meeting was an important opportunity for the two Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive to come together and work on our shared objective to achieve full implementation of the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements, which provide a vital framework for Northern Ireland in the period ahead.”

The IRC will meet for the first time next month. It will report annually on paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland.

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