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Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 1 May 2008

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance

The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Mr. John Hutton): My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and for Innovation, Universities and Skills and I are publishing today the report “Building a Low Carbon Economy: Unlocking Innovation and Skills”. This forms the Government response to the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance (CEMEP), and sets out how Government will work with business to seize the major economic opportunities of moving to a low carbon, resource efficient economy. I have placed copies of the response in the Libraries of both Houses.

Northern Ireland

Independent Monitoring Commission

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Shaun Woodward): I have received the Eighteenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). This report has been made under Articles 4 and 7 of the international agreement that established the Commission and its reports on levels of paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland. I have considered the content of the report and I am today bringing it before Parliament. I have placed copies in the Library of the House.

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The report confirms the assessment made in previous reports that PIRA continues to be committed to a political path and the belief that they will not be diverted from it. The IMC highlight that the “organisation continues to work with the policing institutions and encourages interaction with PSNI, including reporting crime”.

The report illustrates that the threat from dissident republicans is still prevalent. This includes Oglaigh na h√Čireann (ONH) which the IMC consider to be “more seriously active in the six months under review”, remaining a continuing and serious threat, and the Continuity IRA (CIRA) “remain active, dangerous and determined”. There is also evidence of dissidents having sought to target the homes and places of work of PSNI officers and of members of the public. The IMC recognise that the police and intelligence agencies north and south have maintained a high level of effort against dissident republicans. It is important to note that dissidents have no popular support, and will not be a destabilising force.

In relation to loyalism the IMC highlight that loyalists will be judged on delivery, one of the key elements to this being decommissioning. The IMC assessment of the UVF illustrates the organisation’s continuing efforts to pursue their 3 May 2007 statement. The Commission recognises the UDA statement of 11 November 2007 as an important “statement of intent”.

I welcome the IMC’s analysis of normalisation and the end of transition. It is clear to all that “transition can not continue indefinitely”. This is especially true of decommissioning and as such we all await the completion of devolution.

The IMC also provided an assessment of the killing of Paul Quinn. The IMC reported that this brutal murder was clearly contrary to the instructions and strategy of the leadership of PIRA. It is aware of no evidence linking the leadership of PIRA to the incident.

The Government will look closely at the conclusions reached by the IMC.

Once again, I am grateful to the Commission for the submission of this report and for its careful analysis. The report offers a clear picture of both the extraordinary progress made and the challenges ahead to secure an end to paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.

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