Belfast Telegraph

IMC to be wound up ‘as its work is nearly completed’

By Deborah McAleese

The British and Irish governments' paramilitary watchdog is no longer needed and is to be stood down, Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has said.

Mr Paterson said that progress in the peace process meant that the job of the Independent Monitoring Commission was nearing completion.

The IMC’s latest report into paramilitary violence, released yesterday, warns of the continuing threat from dissident republicans.

It said dissident bombings had doubled in the past six months. However, it noted the number of arrests had doubled and commended increased co-operation between the Garda and PSNI.

The report says that the “high level of dissident activity would undoubtedly have led to many more deaths, injuries and destruction had it not been for the operations of the law enforcement and security agencies North and South and their ever closer cross-border co-operation”.

Secretary of State Owen Paterson said the IMC would file a final report on the lessons it had learned after six years spent studying the dismantling of armed factions.

“The IMC was established to help in the process of making the transition in Northern Ireland to a peaceful society and stable, inclusive devolved government,” he said.

“Although there remain those who have rejected peace and politics... the job of the IMC is nearing completion.”

However, Justice Committee member David McNarry said: “Has the Secretary of State some idea as to the security of this country that seems different to that of the Chief Constable?”

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