NI: Three-person panel appointed to develop NI anti-paramilitarism strategy
The Northern Ireland Executive has appointed a three-person panel to develop an anti-paramilitarism strategy for Northern Ireland.
Delivering on a key commitment from recent cross-party talks, the Executive tasked Lord Alderdice, Monica McWilliams and John McBurney with developing continued recommendations for challenging paramilitary activity.
Lord Alderdice, a former leader of the Alliance Party and ex-Speaker of the Assembly, is the only one of the three to have previously served as a member of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).
Professor McWilliams is professor of Women’s Studies at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University.
She was previously Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), a founding member of the Women’s Coalition and a member of the Assembly from 1998 to 2003.
Mr McBurney is a qualified solicitor in general practice in Northern Ireland since that time. He has served on the Law Society Council and many of its committees.
First Minister Peter Robinson said: “There can be no place for paramilitarism in the new Northern Ireland. That day has gone.
“This panel will point the way in which we as a society can remove their scourge once and for all and create a new and better future, free from the fear of intimidation, for generations to come.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: “I have repeatedly challenged armed groups and criminality over many years and today we send out another strong, united message there is absolutely no place for armed groups or criminality in our society.
“I have been at the forefront of challenging these people for many years and collectively we must now free society of these elements forever.”
Justice Minister David Ford said the panel will “complement the work already being done to fight organised crime and paramilitarism”.