02 February 2006

IMC REPORT: Who are the Independent Monitoring Commission?

Daily Ireland

An ex-leader of the Alliance Party, the Metropolitan police’s first director of intelligence, a former CIA deputy director, and a former secretary-general of the South’s justice department make up the IMC

by Jarlath Kearney

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The British and Irish governments formally set up the Independent Monitoring Commission in January 2004. Its four commissioners are each paid £625 (€917) per day for their professional services. The commission’s running costs are approximately £2 million (€2.9 million) per annum, paid from the public purse equally by the Irish and British governments.

John Alderdice

John Alderdice is currently the president of Liberal International. The London-based Liberal International describes itself as “a pre-eminent network for liberal parties” around the world. The Alliance Party in the North is a full member, having joined in 1991. Lord Alderdice is a former leader of the Alliance Party, a post he held between 1987 and 1998. The current Alliance Party leader, David Ford, is a vice-president of Liberal International. The Alliance Party is a staunch political supporter of the IMC and regularly meets the body.

The Progressive Democrats party in the Republic is an observer member of Liberal International. The president of the PDs is Irish justice minister Michael McDowell. Mr McDowell’s department — through both the Irish government and the Garda — is a key source for the IMC.
John Alderdice was given a peerage in 1996 and sits on the Liberal Democrat benches in the House of Lords. In 1998, Lord Alderdice was elected to the North’s new assembly following the Good Friday Agreement. He was appointed to the position of speaker. He resigned from this position in 2004 to “avoid a conflict of interest” upon his appointment as an IMC member.

John Grieve

Professor John Grieve is director of the John Grieve Centre for Policing and Community Safety at Buckingham Chilterns University College in southern England. The centre is billed as an “international policing centre of excellence”. Among the full board members of the centre is Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Ronnie Flanagan. Mr Flanagan is a former RUC/PSNI chief constable and ex-head of RUC Special Branch. PSNI members have attended the centre. Hugh Orde, the current PSNI chief constable, is described as a member of the centre’s “journal board”. Mr Orde is a former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police.

Professor Grieve was the Metropolitan police’s first director of intelligence. A former head of the Met’s Special Branch, he served as “national co-ordinator” with the Anti-Terrorist Squad between 1996 and 1998. As well as holding a senior research fellowship at Portsmouth University, Professor Grieve serves as the independent chairman of the Greater London Authority’s Alcohol and Drugs Alliance.
In 1997, Professor Grieve was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal. In 2000, he was given a CBE after being named the millennium honours list.

Dick Kerr

Dick Kerr joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1960. Mr Kerr is a former deputy director of the CIA. For a period, he served as acting director of Central Intelligence — the umbrella body for the United States’ leading intelligence agencies. After leaving the CIA in 1992, Mr Kerr served on the boards of several security and private-sector agencies. In June 2004, during an interview with west Belfast’s Andersonstown News, Mr Kerr openly accepted that the IMC was “outside” the Good Friday Agreement.

“I think that is true. I don’t think that is a criticism,” he said.

Mr Kerr confirmed that he had signed the Official Secrets Act, that the IMC received national security information and that the intelligence agencies largely provided “reported” rather than “raw” intelligence.
“We’re not going to sit and do our own research as such,” he said. Despite asserting the IMC’s sense of its own independence, Mr Kerr was also frank in admitting that the body could be used by the governments.

“We were created by the government. I mean, we were asked into existence [by the government], so there’s always this concern — ‘are we just an instrument of the government?’ The government can use us. There’s no question,” Mr Kerr said.

Joe Brosnan

Joe Brosnan is a former secretary-general of the Department of Justice in the South. A career civil servant, Mr Brosnan worked as part of the Anglo-Irish (Maryfield) secretariat from its establishment in 1986 until 1992. He is a qualified barrister. Mr Brosnan joined the civil service in 1967 and has worked for most of his career in the justice department. In 1988, he was appointed as the department’s assistant secretary in charge of the Garda and security division. Both the justice department and the Garda are key sources for the IMC. On his appointment as secretary-general at the department in 1992, Mr Brosnan played a senior role in the failed Brook talks initiative.

Mr Brosnan has extensive experience of European political affairs. He is currently vice-chairman of the Irish Institute of European Affairs, a private and independent entity based in Dublin that specialises in European affairs. The institute’s website describes it as a “self-governing body devoted to the study of Irish policy on European integration”. Garret FitzGerald, the former Taoiseach and ex-Fine Gael leader, is the president of the institute. Current Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Bertie Ahern is listed as a member of the institute’s Comité d’Honneur.

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