Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Third Report



1. For too long in Northern Ireland, intimidation has been used, on both sides of the community, to force residents of particular areas, of the opposite tradition, to leave their homes. This practice has contributed in no small measure to the emergence of significant areas where the population is exclusively of one tradition, and a corresponding reduction in the number of 'mixed' areas. This has a number of unfortunate consequences. First, it increases the scope for sectarian tension. Second, in the present context, it creates, or enhances, the scope for private paramilitary organisations associated with one or other tendency to exert control over particular areas, including control of criminal activity. It is also increasingly used, within areas of the same tradition, to maintain control of those areas, often as cover for criminal activity.

2. Ministers, of whatever political persuasion, have rightly and consistently condemned paramilitary intimidation, for which there can be no legitimate justification. Commenting in the House recently on the practice of paramilitary organisations of forcing people to relocate, either within Northern Ireland or elsewhere, the Rt Hon Adam Ingram, JP, MP, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, commented:[2]

    "... The practice is one of the blights on the face of Northern Ireland. It represents a denial of the human rights and the civic dignity of every individual who is subject to such practices by paramilitary groups."

He continued:

    "The practice should stop immediately. Clearly, it is more easily stopped when all members of the community stand against it ...."

We agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by the Minister.

3. In May 2000, we decided to conduct an inquiry into the problem, with the following terms of reference:

    To examine the incidence in Northern Ireland of the practice of paramilitary organisations of intimidating residents into relocating within, or leaving, the Province, and the alleged causes; the steps being taken by Government and law enforcement agencies to eliminate this activity; the response of the Government and public bodies to persons claiming to have been forced from their homes through paramilitary intimidation; and the assistance available to persons affected by such intimidation who subsequently reside, permanently or temporarily, in Great Britain.

4. The range of government departments and public authorities with an interest in this issue is very broad, and includes the Northern Ireland Office, Northern Ireland Departments, other United Kingdom Departments and, where individuals relocate in either Scotland or Wales, relevant departments there also. The issues are also of concern to local government and to a range of statutory bodies. Inevitably, we have had to be selective in our choice of witnesses.

5. We have taken oral evidence on six occasions, and a number of other witnesses have submitted written evidence. A list of the witnesses may be found at p. xxii and details of the written submissions at p. xxiii. We are most grateful to all who have contributed to this inquiry.

6. The terms of reference we adopted concentrate specifically on those intimidated by paramilitary organisations into relocating, either within Northern Ireland or elsewhere. Expulsion is, however, only one of the tactics used by paramilitary organisations in relation to their control over areas. Not surprisingly therefore, much of the evidence has tended to reflect the rather broader theme of paramilitary attempts to control communities in their areas of operation, with exclusions viewed as one particular mechanism used. Although it may be argued that, over the years, people have felt a need to relocate for a range of reasons the thrust of this inquiry has been on relocation at the behest of paramilitary organisations and on the particular causes and consequences of this.

7. Northern Ireland is not the only place in the world where paramilitary organisations have sought to exert control over civilian populations. We visited South Africa from 22- 25 January 2001 to gather information on how the problem had been tackled there and to see what lessons might be learned in the context of the situation in Northern Ireland. A list of the organisations and individuals with whom we had discussions is given in the Annex of this Report. We are most grateful to all concerned for their willingness to assist us in our inquiry. We would also like to thank Ms Ann Grant, CMG, the British High Commissioner, and her staff, and Mr David Pearce, HM Consul, Durban, for all their assistance in relation to the visit.

8. On this occasion, the Northern Ireland Office memorandum also included information on the responsibilities of the devolved administration.[3] On 6 March 2001, Mr Denis Haughey MLA, Minister in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) commented:

    "Government wishes to meet the real identified needs of victims strategically, so that we do not leave gaps in provision. 'Programme for Government' confirms the commitment to putting in place a cross-departmental strategy and detailing precisely how government will tackle the important areas of victims. This will result in the adoption of a service-wide, systematic approach to making life better for those who have suffered.

    We are also committed to improving services offered to victims by April 2002, a challenge which requires the active support of all departments and all public bodies ...."[4]

We welcome this general commitment made on behalf of the Northern Ireland Executive. The needs of victims of paramilitary intimidation should be a key element in formulating strategy and delivering services and the voices of the victims should be heard.



9. In this section we seek to analyse the scope and nature of the problem of, and arising from, forced relocation as a result of paramilitary intimidation, and the causes. We also seek to quantify the scale of the problem, and the consequences. We note, though, that actual expulsions represent only part of the problem:[5] the Maranatha Community drew attention also to the insidious impact of threats of expulsion, which were frequently enough to secure the desired end.[6]


10. The evidence suggested that some expulsions were intended to be permanent, while others might be intended to be only for a period.[7] They also varied in terms of the extent of movement involved: this varied from a few streets, to leaving Northern Ireland.[8]


11. Maranatha described[9] the cause as a "fundamental part of the consolidation of control by the paramilitaries over specific areas, rural and urban .... People are systematically intimidated and coerced into accepting that the paramilitary presence is the de facto authority, which must be obeyed." It saw the roots of the problem as "complex",[10] involving a range of factors, including the settling of personal scores. The RUC drew attention to two major contributory causes.[11] The first is the extent to which public sector housing in working class areas in the main urban conurbations had increasingly become segregated along political/religious lines since the inter-community rioting of the late 1960's/early 1970's. The second is the incidence, particularly on the loyalist side, of paramilitary feuds. There are a number of motivations for these, including extending an organisation's power base, the control of criminal activity and personal disputes between senior figures in the various organisations. Professor Kennedy expressed a number of broadly similar concerns.[12]

12. Maranatha had noticed some degree of correlation between the incidence of expulsions and political developments. However, hopes that the Good Friday Agreement and the prisoner release programme might lead to a sustained reduction have unfortunately proved unfounded.[13]

Scope and nature

13. Marantha commented that the geographical spread of expulsions appeared to be growing. It commented:[14]

    "... where at one time expulsions could have been identified as appertaining to a specific geographical area, i.e. the estates within specific towns or cities, the reality now is that the activity has spread into rural areas and into areas where you would never even contemplate that."

14. The RUC saw the problem as rather more localised. Assistant Chief Constable McQuillan commented[15] "the vast majority of this problem is concentrated into a relatively few areas, in comparison with the totality of Northern Ireland. ... There are a number of areas, both Loyalist and Republican, where this goes on, for example, parts of Belfast, parts of South Down, along the border, Dungannon, and parts of [Co.]Londonderry, including Londonderry. Those are the areas where it has been most prevalent." He continued:[16] "In terms of actual exclusions from Northern Ireland, it is not my perception that we are seeing people excluded from new areas."

15. The RUC commented that the problem of housing intimidation had to be seen in the context of the overall pattern of paramilitary intimidation. RUC identified six principal categories of victims of such intimidation:[17]

  • victims of sectarian intimidation
  • victims of paramilitary feuds
  • members of the security forces, prison officers and public officials
  • alleged criminals
  • those who have had disputes with paramilitaries
  • victims of racial intimidation.

It also pointed out, though, that in some cases, incidents might relate to more than one category, but it lacked consistent, reliable information.[18] Professor Kennedy categorised those likely to be driven out of their communities in broadly similar terms. Maranatha commented[19] that there were a wide range of reasons why people were expelled, and the reason given is not always the real one. It maintained, though, that many of those it assisted had not had any involvement with paramilitary organisations[20]

16. Professor Kennedy described the typical victim as "young, working class and male".[21] Maranatha, however, had seen a change in the nature of expulsions from Northern Ireland since 1994: there was now an increasing tendency to expel whole families, rather than individuals. It also pointed out that some of those expelled have already been punished following conviction by a court of law.[22] The bulk of expulsions appear to be intra-community.[23] They may be for a determinate period, or for 'life'.[24]


17. There was general agreement on the part of the witnesses that the scale of the problem was difficult to define, but that present statistics were likely to understate the problem. Maranatha indicated that the practice was prevalent in both traditions at about the same level.[25] In evidence to us on 5 April 2000,[26] the Secretary of State drew attention to data from NIACRO's Base 2 project, which relate solely to people who approached Base 2 to discuss their plight. NIACRO provided more comprehensive figures as part of its evidence[27] and the Table below shows the numbers presented to Base 2 who subsequently relocated:

Relocated outside Northern Ireland
Relocated within Northern Ireland

18. Maranatha maintained that "many expulsions and punishment beatings go unannounced and unreported. This is often because the victim has been warned that there will be further punishment to himself or herself or their family if the offence is reported to the police or even recorded in the press."[28] It estimated the number of expulsions to Great Britain at around four per month, although there are also other family members who follow subsequently, and some cases which only come to light retrospectively.[29]

19. The RUC could not offer a breakdown of cases across the categories mentioned earlier.[30] It pointed out that statistical information is spread across a number of different Government agencies and that the data may overlap. It also commented[31] "we know that many victims do not report incidents to Police and do not wish them to be reported to Police for a variety of motives." Assistant Chief Constable McQuillan commented that, in contrast with the position on the overall scale of intimidation, the RUC would have "a good idea of those intimidations where people are forced to move home",[32] not least because the paramilitary organisation concerned tends to seek, for its own purposes, public recognition of its actions. Information is generally available from the RUC on cases where it has had to clarify to the Housing Executive that intimidation has taken place,[33] but Assistant Chief Constable McQuillan pointed out that there are others the RUC does not find out about, for a variety of reasons.[34]

20. The Northern Ireland Office agreed that there was under-reporting[35] and had no figure for individuals,[36] nor could it produce figures for the numbers relocating within Northern Ireland.[37] It did, however, provide us with Housing Executive figures for the last three financial years for relocation of households through intimidation and these are reproduced below:[38]

Belfast area
Northern Ireland

In addition, very substantial numbers of people moved as a result of the loyalist feud in Belfast last year.[39]

21. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, surprisingly, has not been approached by anyone claiming to be a recent victim of exclusion or attempted exclusion.[40]

22. As a precursor to improving the response to the problem of relocation following paramilitary intimidation, there needs to be a significantly more accurate definition of the extent of the problem, and the pattern of relocation. It is clear from the evidence that there is at present no reliable overall information on this, although organisations providing assistance may have a good insight into these matters within their own sphere of activity. What needs to be done, though, is to bring these together and consolidate them. The new computerised database being developed by the RUC may well have an important part to play in this.[41] There is also a need to seek to fill the gaps in the information pattern, given the general agreement that there is under-reporting in the official statistics.


23. Assistant Chief Constable McQuillan told us[42] that the RUC never advises people to relocate, either within Northern Ireland or outside, as a result of paramilitary threats. If asked about the level of protection the force can offer, he added "... we would feel forced to give them an honest answer .... the reality is that we cannot protect people 24 hours a day, seven days a week; so we would provide advice to them on what options were open to them, and it would then be a matter for them to decide what to do."

24. Professor Kennedy gave examples of where the trauma of exclusion, or potential exclusion had led to people volunteering for physical punishment instead.[43]

25. Maranatha drew attention to the trauma felt by many of those expelled, often at very short notice.[44] Although not frequently needed, a new identity could cause particular trauma.[45]

26. Those forced out of Northern Ireland often face a number of practical difficulties, such as finding a doctor, suitable housing accommodation,[46] suitable employment,[47] and schools for their children.[48]

27. The problem of relocation within Northern Ireland of those forced from their homes by paramilitary intimidation raises a number of difficult questions. The Housing Executive has responsibility for re-housing those made homeless by intimidation[49] and has the ASH[50] and SPED[51] schemes[52] to assist in providing accommodation and assisting former owner-occupiers respectively. It is important, though, that its operation does not have perverse consequences. For example, concern has been expressed, in the Northern Ireland Assembly, that when paramilitaries force unconvicted drug dealers from their homes, as a result of the intimidation they go to the top of Housing Executive lists for re-housing. We are pleased to note that the Minister recognises the unacceptability of this situation, and welcome the fact that he proposes to bring forward legislation in the Assembly to deal with this problem.[53]

28. Another potential difficulty which must be avoided is re-housing those displaced from their homes in a way which unnecessarily reinforces existing housing patterns. At all costs, it is important to ensure that, in re-housing those displaced, the objective of the paramilitaries in many cases, of creating areas homogeneous in their allegiance, is not assisted. In this context, we note the concerns expressed by Assistant Chief Constable McQuillan about the role of the RUC in advising the Housing Executive.[54] Housing homogeneity appears to be a particular aim of the loyalist paramilitaries as in the case of the loyalist feud in parts of Belfast last year. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has drawn attention to the fact that there may often be a discrimination dimension to intimidation.[55] We note that the section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 imposes on public authorities a broad duty to "have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group." We recommend that the Housing Executive issues a statement indicating how it takes account of these important new duties when deciding how and where to re-house victims of paramilitary intimidation.



29. Maranatha saw publicity as a key element in tackling expulsions. This factor, in its experience, could have a marked influence on the level of activity. Mr Andrew Robinson commented[56] "... I can think of one specific area where there were 30 to 40 names on a list for expulsion and whenever this was highlighted and addressed all that activity was curtailed. ... Once it was highlighted and dealt with and indicated that it would go into a greater public arena if this happened the organisation stepped back. ..." Professor Kennedy quoted a specific example where publicity had resulted in the lifting of a threat,[57] and also commented on the beneficial impact of human rights organisations taking an interest in paramilitary intimidation.[58]

Enhancing the effectiveness of the rule of law

30. One of the constraints identified by Maranatha was the unwillingness of some people, in both Catholic and Protestant areas, to approach the police openly.[59] It added that creating a state of fear was a key element used by paramilitaries in extending their control, and a sense of loss of empowerment on the part of the community ensues. It commented[60] "... If communities could be empowered to take responsibility for their areas again then perhaps you would see what we would understand as effective policing, effective administration of the law and order taking place. That is a feeling that people have, that they do not have the ability to take back control of their own communities. This is across the board. I have been in Loyalist areas, I have been in Republican areas where individuals feel disempowered and are accepting, or have had to become accepting, of the principle that if anything happens you do not go to a statutory body but you have to go to those who are representative of the paramilitary groups. ..."

31. On the question of whether the Patten reforms of the police would, through the creation of district police partnerships, enhance public confidence in the police, Maranatha was not certain, and considered that this would depend on whether or not the community had confidence in the appointees.[61] It agreed, though, that an increase in confidence would lead to a weakening of the paramilitaries.[62] Northern Ireland Office witnesses saw these reforms as an important element.[63]

32. Assistant Chief Constable McQuillan was adamant that there are no 'no go' areas for policing in Northern Ireland,[64] but there remain certain areas where special precautions must be taken. In terms of policing estates, he said "... the overall paramilitary control, in certain areas, or the strength of paramilitarism, in some areas, ... clearly has an impact upon policing, in that people are afraid to speak out, people are afraid to be seen going to the police, but that situation has persisted for many years, and certainly our impression is that it is getting better in many areas. For example, in West Belfast, or parts of West Belfast, the last three or four years, we have seen the number of calls, routine calls, to the police for assistance virtually double. So, in that sense, we believe people in those areas do want to get back to a normal society, they are voting with their feet, and they want honest policing, and they are prepared to support that."

33. The RUC saw the problem of tackling paramilitary intimidation as a long term one and that the first component was "to try to reassure those people who are being intimidated; to provide what support we can provide to them; to ensure that we do everything possible to investigate those crimes, to catch the people responsible and to bring them before the courts as a deterrent ..."[65]

The Base 2 project

34. The Base 2 project, operated by NIACRO,[66] aims to seek to remove the threat to individuals fearing action against them by paramilitaries. It seeks to operate confidentially, in accordance with principles of non-violence and human rights, and non-judgementally.[67] Maintenance in the community is a preferred option. Initially, it was funded entirely by private donations but it subsequently received government funding for a period.[68] With the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, government and Probation Service funding was withdrawn, as it could be construed as implicitly endorsing continued paramilitary violence.[69] NIACRO has always made clear that it does not condone such violence.[70] The figures provided by NIACRO suggest that only a small proportion of threats are, in the end, actually lifted.

35. NIACRO seeks to verify the threat of paramilitary sanctions against an individual through third parties. It has found these to be effective and this method of operation is helpful in a variety of ways.[71] The Ulster Democratic Party told us[72] that it worked with Base 2 to seek to verify or otherwise claims of loyalist paramilitary threat against individuals or families and, where such a threat exists, to seek to have that threat removed.

36. The Base 2 figures provide a useful breakdown, which reveals that a significant proportion of those approaching NIACRO for assistance because they perceive themselves to be under threat of paramilitary action are not apparently under any such threat.[73] We recommend that a study be made of the reasons why this is so, and of the basis for their perception.

37. NIACRO told us that it has arranged for an independent review of Base 2 services by Professor Harry Mika of the University of Michigan.[74] We understand that this is nearly complete and we look forward to seeing a copy in due course.

38. Relatively little specific evidence was given on bodies co-ordinating assistance to persons forced out of their homes. Within Northern Ireland, the bulk of the responsibilities are transferred matters. The Northern Ireland Office[75] mentioned the Displaced Families Inter-Agency Group as having a co-ordinating function within the Province. Both Marantha[76] and the NIO[77] implied that there was little, if any, co-ordination of assistance to persons displaced to Great Britain. Professor Kennedy also argued for greater co-ordination of support to those forced to move.[78]

39. In the light of the evidence we have received, we consider that there is a case for a more formal system of co-ordination in Great Britain of assistance to those forced to move there from Northern Ireland. An Anti-Intimidation Unit, as proposed by New Dialogue,[79] might have a part to play in this. We also invite the Northern Ireland Executive to review the scope and effectiveness of the co-ordinating arrangements in Northern Ireland.

40. Improved co-ordination, though, is not, in our view, sufficient. There is also a need for greater advertising of the assistance available, so vulnerable people, forced from their homes, know where and who to turn to. A substantial number turn to NIACRO and its Base 2 services and we commend what this project has achieved to date. However, these are, deliberately, the subject of only limited publicity.[80] We recommend that the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, in their respective areas of operation, take steps to ensure that information on the support services available to those forced from their homes is made widely available to bodies likely to come into contact with such people, and that these bodies are encouraged to be pro-active in passing it on.


41. Maranatha commented that a very high proportion of those expelled would prefer to return home, but in its experience very few of those expelled are able to get back.[81]

42. Maranatha indicated that expulsions tended to be graded in their seriousness. It has been able to negotiate the return of some of those excluded for short periods, but "nearly all the expulsions which are related to strengthening the grip of the paramilitaries are long-term and, they hope, for life." Maranatha also commented that "we do know that some of those who have been told to clear out for good, when they have come back two or three years later have been assaulted and have had to run for their lives."[82] It was nonetheless possible, in some such cases, to negotiate short visits on compassionate grounds.[83]

43. NIACRO is now receiving funding from the Belfast Regeneration Office to fund a re-entry programme.[84] It sees this work as a major priority which "will require delicate local negotiations together with substantial change in the practice of statutory agencies, to facilitate reintegration."[85] This programme has been running since April 2000.

44. We welcome the development by NIACRO of its programme to support re-entry of persons previously excluded.[86] We also welcome the assurances we were given that this did not involve coming to an agreement with paramilitaries on particular cases, although Maranatha had experience of other cases where payments had been made.[87] We would be very concerned about any actions, however laudable their motivation, which in effect gave express or implied recognition to illegal actions of paramilitaries, or appeared to legitimise their purported contribution to law enforcement.

Developing restorative justice

45. There is no legal framework at present in Northern Ireland for restorative justice schemes. The RUC is strongly supportive in principle of the development of effective restorative justice schemes which are part of the overall criminal justice system of Northern Ireland, have legitimacy, are done through legitimate channels and offer appropriate protection for all concerned, including victims and alleged offenders. It has already been involved in setting up some schemes, working in partnership with various agencies, and is keen to expand these.[88] Assistant Chief Constable McQuillan commented[89] "... There are, in a number of areas, or there have been set up in a number of areas, what are euphemistically called 'restorative justice schemes'; some of them established by individuals with very good intent and good bona fides, who are interested in this area and believe it is a way forward, and others where there may be a paramilitary element in them...."

He added "... Additionally, there are suggestions that there have been almost kangaroo courts held. In our experience quite frankly, the kangaroo courts do not happen, individuals are quite simply contacted and told that "it has been decided that you have done something; you are to be punished for it" and they are given the option of reporting and having the punishment carried out, or, alternatively, they are simply taken out of their home one night, or men have raided their home, and just beaten up, or shot. There is no attempt whatsoever to put any sort of gloss on the attack."

46. NIACRO also supported community restorative justice programmes and could see a role for itself in either providing or contributing to a partnership relationship with other bodies in respect of such programmes. It also recognised that there was an issue concerning programmes controlled by, or within, the community. NIACRO would support these if they adhered to principles of non-violence and human rights and they had "very, very transparent quality standards and protocols."[90]

47. Northern Ireland Office witnesses also had concerns about possible difficulties with some community based restorative justice schemes.[91] It considered, though, that restorative justice might prove a quicker route to resolving some cases, which might reduce community antagonism towards the offender, thus lessening the likelihood of paramilitary involvement.[92]


48. We utterly condemn any activity by groups on either side of the community that is aimed at intimidating people into leaving the Province, or into relocating within the Province. The evidence we have received demonstrates beyond peradventure the misery caused by such illegal activity. There can be no justification for such conduct in a civilised society committed to the defence of internationally agreed human rights standards.

49. We welcome the steps being taken to seek to eliminate this practice. We wholeheartedly commend the excellent work being done by voluntary bodies, such as the Maranatha Community, to assist those forced to relocate to Great Britain. We also commend the work of NIACRO in relation to those under threat of punishment beatings. We note that there are working links[93] between these two bodies, and with other voluntary sector groups. We believe that these should be encouraged.

50. We welcome also the clear commitment by the RUC to tackling this problem. It described the position thus:[94]

    "There is no doubt that intimidation in general and especially those cases where individuals are forced to flee their homes is a significant problem and one we treat very seriously. It is also a difficult problem to detect and prevent unless there is real support from the wider community in the areas in question."

We agree that this problem will only be overcome when the community as a whole rallies behind the forces of law and order. We hope that the forthcoming changes in the police force in Northern Ireland will create a climate conducive to this, and enable the progress made to date by the RUC to be built on.[95]

51. Our evidence also shows some of the difficulties faced in tackling the problem. It is vital, though, that it is not simply ignored. As Professor Kennedy commented:[96]

    "Turning a Nelsonian blind eye to the problem of paramilitary domination of certain areas, including the practice of exiling, is a gross betrayal of some of the most vulnerable, powerless and disadvantaged members of our society."

He also said:[97]

    "We need to break the silence, at all levels of society here. There has to be a fundamental debate about the gravity of the problems posed by paramilitary organisation in this society, in relation to children, individual adults, families and communities. The governments in Belfast, Dublin and London have a major responsibility here. So also do the media and community groups."

We agree, and hope that this Report might provide a focus for such a debate. Greater publicity for the activities of paramilitaries in terms of human rights abuses, driven by closer attention being given to the problem by organisations and groups concerned with human rights in the Province, could clearly play a significant part in this process.

52. While it is undoubtedly the case that not all those subject to intimidation are paragons of virtue, arbitrarily and summarily cast out of the community in which they live, to the concern and dismay of their neighbours[98] (a claim frequently made by apologists for paramilitary 'law enforcers'), this is not the point. It is a fundamental tenet of human rights law that "in the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing .... by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law", to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law and to specific rights in relation to their defence.[99] However serious the allegations against them, everyone is entitled to these protections: the summary 'justice' of the paramilitaries is a contempt of these rights.

53. The problem is inextricably bound up with the legacy of thirty years of terrorism and a recent Royal Ulster Constabulary report provides evidence that a majority of the organised criminal gangs operating in the Province have current or historic links to republican or loyalist paramilitaries. The single greatest contribution to tackling the problem of paramilitary exclusions will be enhanced public confidence in the rule of law. By itself, though, this is unlikely to be enough. The influence of the paramilitaries will have to be weakened generally. The new Organised Crime Task Force, and the promised crackdown on organised crime, will have an important part to play in this. Measures to tackle the economic deprivation that appears to have provided the paramilitaries with fertile recruiting grounds may also be relevant.[100]

54. As Mr Ingram observed in the Parliamentary Answer quoted earlier in this Report,[101] paramilitary intimidation is more easily stopped when all members of the community stand together. Another key element is that the police are in a position, which they are not at present, to produce in court sufficient credible evidence in relation to identifiable individuals to secure convictions. To improve the current position, Professor Kennedy called[102] for "a campaign of support for the police, where most of the political parties, with the likely exception of the paramilitary political parties, accepted their responsibilities to support just and fair policing." We support this call.

55. We are convinced that there is a need for a greater degree of focus and co-ordination on the very real problems faced by those forced from their homes by paramilitary intimidation. At present there appears to be no clear public policy on how to handle this difficult human problem, which is one of long standing. In this context, it is perhaps noteworthy that a 1991 report from the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body[103] drew attention, amongst other matters, to:

  • the importance of assistance to young people coming from Northern Ireland as a result of paramilitary activity receiving further study and support;
  • the problems of acceptance and assimilation which may be faced in Great Britain by members of the Unionist community, who regard themselves as 'British' rather than 'Irish'; and
  • the need to improve information for those coming to major British cities from Northern Ireland.

56. The cross-departmental strategy being developed by the Executive should improve focus and co-ordination in respect of those relocating within the Province. However, a mechanism is undoubtedly also needed to help improve arrangements in Great Britain.[104] At present, no one agency in Great Britain has responsibility for policy on this issue. We recommend that the Government take steps to establish a focal point with responsibility for co-ordinating both the development of policy in this area and the activities of government departments and agencies, local government and other bodies, including statutory bodies and voluntary associations. Such a focal point could also bring together representatives of all the bodies and groups concerned, with a view to seeking to draw up guidelines aimed at ensuring that victims of paramilitary intimidation forced to come from Northern Ireland to Great Britain receive appropriate assistance and support.

57. One of the functions of this Report is to highlight the plight of victims of paramilitary intimidation, particularly those forced to leave their homes, and the need for a more supportive response to this largely hidden legacy of the Troubles. In view of the seriousness of the problem of paramilitary intimidation in Northern Ireland, we recommend that this Report, and the relevant Government responses, be further considered by the House.

2  Official Report, 28 February 2001, Vol. 363, Col. 890-1. See also the evidence given by the Secretary of State on 5 April 2000 (HC 409-i (1999-2000) at Q 2 and Ev. p. 14. Back

3  Ev. p. 67, 70. Back

4  OFMDFM Press Release, 6 March 2001. Back

5  Referred to subsequently in this Report as 'Maranatha'. Back

6  Q 27. Back

7  Q 20. Back

8  See, for example, the Base 2 statistics at Appendix 8, p. 98. See also Q20.  Back

9  Ev. p. 2. Back

10  Ev. p. 3. Back

11  Ev. p. 19-20. Back

12  Ev. p. 53, 54. Back

13  Q 14. Back

14  Q 23. See also Q 26 and Appendix 8, p. 100. Back

15  Q 87. Back

16  Q 88. See also Q 90. Back

17  Ev. p. 18. Back

18  Q 67. Back

19  Q 21. Back

20  Q 22. See also Q 37, 38. Back

21  Ev. p. 54. Back

22  Ev. p. 2. Back

23  Q 21. See also Ev. p. 53. Back

24  Q 20. Back

25  Q 19. Back

26  HC 409-i (1999-2000), p. 14. Back

27  Ev. p. Appendix 8, p. 98. Back

28  Ev. p. 1. Back

29  Q 6-12. Back

30  Q 67, 70. Back

31  Ev. p. 18, 22. See also Q 71-72, 76. Back

32  Q 78-79. Back

33  Q 76. Back

34  Q 77. Back

35  Q 284. See also Q 277. Back

36  Q 281. Back

37  Q 282. Back

38  Ev. p. 66 and Q 172. Back

39  See Ev. p. 54 and 67. Back

40  Appendix 6, p. 90. Back

41  Q 73. Back

42  Q 82. Back

43  Ev. p. 54. Back

44  Q 12-13, 16, 22. Back

45  Q 50. Back

46  Q 17. Back

47  Q 32. Back

48  Q 42-46. Back

49  Ev. p. 70. Back

50  The Acquisition of Satisfactory Houses Scheme. Back

51  Scheme for Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings. Back

52  For a summary of the purpose of these schemes, see Ev. p. 70. Back

53  Official Report, Northern Ireland Assembly, 26 February 2001, Vol. 9, p. 315. See also Appendix 4, p. 85. Back

54  Q 80. Back

55  Appendix 6, p. 91. Back

56  Q 27. Back

57  Ev. p. 54. Q 253. Back

58  Q 265. Back

59  Q 25. Back

60  Q 26. See also Q 28, 34 and 297. Back

61  Q 27. Back

62  Q 53. Back

63  Q 276. Back

64  Q 86. See also Q 117-118 and Q 126-127. Back

65  Q 84. Back

66  The Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders. Back

67  Q 143. See also Q 157. Back

68  Ev. p. 38. Back

69  Ev. p. 38. See also Appendix 7, p. 92. Back

70  Q 176. See also Q 310. Back

71  Q 158. See also Q 232-233. Back

72  Appendix 1, p. 83. Back

73  Appendix 8, p. 98. Back

74  Ev. p. 39 and Q 173. See also Q 183-184. This report is now expected to be completed in April 2001. Back

75  Ev. p. 70. Back

76  Ev. p. 3. See also Q 46. Back

77  Q 290-293. Back

78  Ev. p. 54. Back

79  For details of the functions of such a Unit, as proposed by New Dialogue, see Appendix 10, p. 101. Back

80  Ev. p. 38-39. Back

81  Q 31-32. Back

82  Q 20. Back

83  Q 30. Back

84  Q 192, 199 to 202. Back

85  Ev. p. 39. See also Q 240. Back

86  Ev. p. 39. Q163-169. Back

87  Q 32. NIACRO has had no such case within the context of Base 2 (Q 177). Back

88  Q 132. Back

89  Q 119. See also Q 133. Back

90  Q 224-226. Back

91  Q 276. Back

92  Q 311. Back

93  Q 51. See also Q 211-212. Back

94  Ev. p. 23. See also Q 92. Back

95  Q 93. See also Q 107, 137. Back

96  Ev. p. 55. Back

97  Ev. p. 58. Back

98  See, for example, the concerns expressed in the Northern Ireland Assembly relating to alleged drugs dealers forced by paramilitaries from their homes. Official Report, Northern Ireland Assembly, 26 February 2001, Vol. 9, p. 315. Back

99  Article 6, European Convention on Human Rights. Back

100  See Q 258. Back

101  Paragraph 2. Back

102  Ev. p. 58. Back

103  Report from the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body, Committee C on Economic and Social Affairs, The Irish in Britain, No. 5, April 1991. Back

104  See Q 47. Back

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