02 February 2006

SINN FEIN MOVES TO HAVE IMC DISBANDED

IAIS

02/02/06 09:25 EST

Sinn Fein moved in the Dail (Irish Parliament) today to have the Independent Monitoring Commission disbanded.

A Bill was brought calling for the highly contentious Independent Monitoring Commission to be repealed just one day after the body was at the center of furious row over IRA weapons.

Sinn Fein`s Aengus O`Snodaigh said the commission was not as independent as its title suggested.

"It is quite clear to even the most narrow-minded of observers of the peace process that the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission is nothing of the sort," the Dublin South Central TD said.

"Its farcical report yesterday, which once again relies on anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations and innuendo from extremely suspect sources, is nothing more than a permit for prevarication, which the two governments foolishly handed rejectionist unionists and their fellow-travellers."

The IMC, which said the IRA was making progress towards transforming itself into a totally peaceful organisation, alleged in a report yesterday some members were still engaged in spying, money laundering and smuggling.

However, while offering no hard evidence whatsoever, the commission also said it had "received reports" that the IRA still had access to a range of guns despite completing its disarmament programme last fall.

There was no indication given that the quantities alleged involved were substantial, or that the alleged retained arms were kept with the approval of the IRA leadership or as part of a wider strategy to return to violence.

General John de Chastelain`s Independent International Commission on Decommissioning confirmed it had received information from security sources in Northern Ireland - believed to be the PSNI- that a range of IRA weapons and ammunition were not handed over to be destroyed last September.

However after consulting the Irish Republic`s police and the IRA, the disarmament body said it remained convinced that the IRA had destroyed all the weapons under its control in the organisation`s final act of arms decommissioning last September.

Senior Garda officers also insisted there was no intelligence suggesting any weapons had been retained.

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness yesterday was incensed by the claims in the new assessment, alleging police loyal to the DUP were responsible for the claims.

Mr O`Snodaigh said the party had pointed out at the time the legislation was being passed that it would give legal effect to a body which those intent on frustrating the development of the peace process could use.

"This latest report has, as was the case with all the previous reports of this discredited body, unfortunately proved us right," he said, adding that more than ¬1.5 million (£1 million) per year had been spent by the Irish Government on the IMC since it was established in 2003.

Mr O`Snodaigh said it was in the interests of the peace process that the Irish Government adopt his Bill to repeal the legislation grounding the IMC.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "It is quiet clear to even the most narrow-minded of observers of the peace process that the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission is nothing of the sort. Its farcical report yesterday, which once again relies on anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations and innuendo from extremely suspect sources, is nothing more than a permit for prevarication, which the two governments foolishly handed rejectionist unionists and their fellow- travellers."

"Sinn Féin pointed out at the time that the legislation was going through Leinster House to give legal effect to this body that it would be used and abused by those who are hell-bent on frustrating the development of the peace process. This latest report has, as was the case with all the previous reports of this discredited body, unfortunately proved us right."

"Sinn Féin has put before the Dáil today a Bill which would repeal the legislation that brought the body in to being and which provided it with its substantial funding from the Irish taxpayer. I am calling on the Government to adopt this Bill and put it to the House so that the collection of spooks and anti-republican cranks that make up the IMC can be disbanded immediately. In the interests of the peace process and in the re-establishment of the institutions it is crucial that this happens sooner rather than later," Deputy Ó Snodaigh said.

Also today, republican protesters disrupted a crucial meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board in Belfast.

As Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde was about to give his assessment on the IMC report, half a dozen people stood up and demanded to know where the information came from.

Robert McClenaghan, of the group An Fhirinne, asked: "Who provided intelligence to the likes of the IMC? Is it the same Special Branch police, same military people and the same members of the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) who have been involved in collusion for the last 35 years?"

The protesters were escorted out of the public meeting by the PSNI, some of them shouting "political policing" as they left.

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?