NI: Crisis talks delayed as paramilitary report fails to appear

Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers

The UK government-commissioned report on the status of paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland has been delayed.

Although it was originally expected to be handed to the political parties this week, the report has been delayed without explanation.

The report is now likely to be presented early next week, according to the Irish News and broadcaster UTV.

Although meetings have continued to take place in the meantime, the report’s delayed release has effectively put Northern Ireland’s crisis talks on hold.

SDLP MLA Alban Maginness told the Irish Times that “other parties” were responsible for the delayed progress.

A three-person panel appointed by Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers continues to prepare the report.

The independent panellists, who Ms Villiers said had “credibility and standing from across the community”, are Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC, Rosalie Flanagan, and Stephen Shaw QC.

Ms Villiers said the panel would release its findings by “mid-October”, but the Northern Ireland Office has refused to provide more information.

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