Following the publication of the Independent Reporting Commission’s annual report, Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “I welcome today’s report from the Independent Reporting Commission and recognise the important role that they play in monitoring our progress towards ending paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland.
“The Action Plan to Tackle Paramilitary Activity, Criminality, and Organised Crime is a cross-Executive initiative, not a justice issue alone, and I want to reflect carefully on the recommendations made by the Commissioners with my Executive colleagues.
“A significant amount of work is being delivered under the cross-Executive Action Plan, and the Programme has benefited greatly from close working between Executive Departments, statutory bodies and community and voluntary organisations. This collaborative effort, drawing on the strengths of all involved, is making a real difference in communities.
“Notable achievements to date include extensive youth outreach initiatives, and wrap around educational support for young people; a community transformation programme for women; Probation Board- led work with vulnerable young men; initiatives to help speed up the justice process; a programme to support communities to build their capacity to transition to more open and accessible communities where paramilitarism no longer plays a role; and the work of the Paramilitary Crime Taskforce - a co-located law enforcement response to tackle criminality related to paramilitary groups.
“However, whilst good progress is being made, lessons learned so far only serve to underline how the enduring and pervasive nature of paramilitarism requires a long term, collaborative approach if we are to effectively resolve all of the issues.
“We can show, and have demonstrated, the value this critical work brings and I look forward to working with colleagues across all parties to continue the work of this vitally important programme, with the aim of achieving the ultimate goal of safer communities, resilient to paramilitarism, criminality and coercive control.”
Notes to editors:
1.The Independent Reporting Commission (IRC) was created under the Fresh Start Agreement, to monitor progress on tackling paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland. The IRC annual report is available from their website:
2.Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3.The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted out of hours on 028 9037 8110.
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