Belfast Telegraph

Peers back legislation to tackle paramilitary activity

Legislation aimed at tackling the "malign threat" of paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland has been fast-tracked through Parliament.

The Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Bill, which has already cleared the Commons, was given an unopposed third reading in the Lords and is now set to become law.

The Bill gives effect to commitments in the Fresh Start Agreement reached last November after 10 weeks of cross party talks aimed at shoring up the power-sharing Stormont Assembly.

It implements parts of the political deals struck between the parties, including plans to establish a commission to promote progress towards ending paramilitary activity.

Northern Ireland spokesman Lord Dunlop said there were many issues arising from the agreement that were not in the Bill.

"I'm sure we will return on future occasions to many of these issues raised by peers across the House on how best to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland's troubled past."

He said the Bill "while not providing all the answers does maintain momentum achieved by the Fresh Start Agreement and marks another significant step forward in tackling the malign threat of paramilitary activity and securing a more peaceful, stable and prosperous future for Northern Ireland".

Lord Dunlop said fast-tracking the Bill would ensure that the "enhanced pledge of office and new undertakings for members of the Assembly" would be in place for the Assembly's return after next week's elections.


From Belfast Telegraph