Final IMC report warns of dangers to PSNI officers

The final report from the Independent Monitoring Commission has found that while paramilitary activity has decreased significantly, the threat against PSNI officers from dissident groups remains.

The final report from the Independent Monitoring Commission has found that while paramilitary activity has decreased significantly, the threat against PSNI officers from dissident groups remains.

It has also emerged in a report from the IMC on weapons decommissioning that the records of the arms decommissioned in the North will not be provided to the Irish and British governments.

The IMC has taken the decision because it says decommissioning is still incomplete and active paramilitary groups still possess arms.

Accordingly they have arranged for the secure custody of the record with the US State Department. It can, however, be released whenever the two Governments consider it appropriate to do so.

Commenting on this decision by the Commission, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said: "I know that a lot of attention will be focused on whether the Commission’s report contains details of the quantity of arms decommissioned by the various paramilitary groups.

"For good and sound reasons the IICD has decided that the time is not yet right for that. I support their reasoning in that regard.

"I want to emphasise the point that withholding the details at this time does not detract one iota from the fact that the Commission report states its belief that decommissioning was as complete as it could be. That is the bottom line with regard to those groups who did engage in decommissioning."

Minister Shatter welcomed the report, saying that he regrets that there are still people on this island who refuse to recognise the will of the people.

"Decommissioning of paramilitary arms was probably the most contentious issue which had to be addressed during the whole peace process," said Minister Shatter.

"We owe a great debt of gratitude to General John de Chastelain and his fellow Commissioners, Brigadier Tauno Nieminen and Mr Andrew Sens, together with their staff, for their patience, integrity and skill in bringing the process to a successful conclusion.

"They achieved what many people believed would never happen. History will record that their work was central to bringing peace to this island."

He also said that he hopes that these groups will see sense and put their arms beyond use.

"There are, regrettably, still groups out there who refuse to recognise that the will of the people of this island is that the gun and bomb have no place in political dialogue," he said.

"I hope eventually that these groups will see sense and put their arms beyond use.

But in the meantime we will continue to take all necessary steps to counteract the threat which they pose."

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