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Stormont diary: IMC colleagues 'a wise group' says CIA man

By David Young

The four members of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) have readily accepted the Government decision to put them out of business.

In fact, reporters at their press conference could have been forgiven for thinking that they seemed relieved.

Former Alliance Party leader Lord Alderdice noted that he had repeatedly predicted that success in the peace process would rob the IMC of a job.

Joe Brosnan, a seasoned Irish civil servant, agreed the IMC was effectively a victim of its own success.

Former top cop John Grieve said he had agreed to an 18-month job in 2003, and he now had a "seven-year itch".

But it was left to former CIA man Dick Kerr to detail the huge workload the men have taken on since their work began.

The American, still active on the international stage despite being in his mid-70s, said the men had held 103 formal meetings as part of their activities.

"I have spent, in attending these meetings, a total of 2,400 hours on aeroplanes. That doesn't count going through security and waiting in airports. So just getting here and getting back has been for me a major challenge."

Mr Kerr joined the CIA in 1960, working as a Soviet military analyst during the 1962/63 Cuban missile crisis. He held a series of senior posts before leaving the organisation in 1992.

But he ignored his own impressive CV to heap fulsome praise on his colleagues.

"I consider them a wise group - them, not necessarily me," he said.

Tongue-in-cheek, he added: "I don't consider myself wise. I may be a little odd and different but not wise, particularly."

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