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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Moves against paramilitaries outlined
Dr Reid outlined a series of measures
Dr Reid outlined a series of measures
The prime minister and secretary of state have set out a list of measures in the House of Commons aimed at tackling paramilitary activities.

Tony Blair and John Reid said there could be no acceptable or tolerable level of violence and there would be a rigorous response to breaches of loyalist and republican ceasefires.

Dr Reid said the murder of Gerard Lawlor "by so-called loyalists" was appalling.

He said recent murder attempts and shootings were "disgraceful events which benefit no one".

Tony Blair
Tony Blair: "No acceptable level of violence"
"I said recently we would oppose by all means those who are wedded to violence.

"The security forces are bearing down on the paramilitaries to deny them the freedom to operate and to prevent murders, shootings, pipe and petrol bomb attacks."

The measures outlined by Mr Blair and Dr Reid are:

  • An examination of possible changes to police powers and criminal acts involving paramilitaries
  • A possible assessment of levels of paramilitary violence within both loyalist and republican communities
  • More than 250 additional police officers and soldiers in interface areas
  • Known paramilitaries being kept under close surveillance
  • Detectives pursuing a variety of proactive and reactive measures
  • Giving particular weight to any substantiated information that a paramilitary organisation is engaged in training, targeting, acquisition or development of arms or weapons
  • Giving particular weight to any substantiated information of preparations for terrorist violence in Northern Ireland or elsewhere
  • Take into account future such fundamental breaches of commitments to exclusively peaceful means when assessing the ceasefires
  • Principles of democracy signed by parties should become increasingly rigorous

Dr Reid said he had asked the Attorney General to lead an examination of police powers, bail arrangements and the scope for additional criminal offences.

This would also include an examination of any changes in criminal law for acts of terrorism and organised crime in order to enhance the powers of police and Army.


There is a particular responsibility on any party participating in the government of Northern Ireland

John Reid

"It is intolerable if progress valued by the many in Northern Ireland would become hostage to the few who are still committed to violence."

He said the government needed the public's help to have more transparent information on paramilitary activities.

"I can see a case for... shining a light on levels of paramilitary violence in the community - both loyalist and republican - and to supplement the judgements I make about ceasefires.

"I will consult widely about this idea and how it might best be done and make my views known after the summer break."

Dr Reid added: "There is a particular responsibility on any party participating in the government of Northern Ireland. They must appreciate that participating jointly in government - as the Agreement requires - calls for a measure of responsibility and trust.

"Trust depends on confidence that the transition from violence to democracy continues apace and must be completed without delay."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Martina Purdy:
"It seems clear a crisis is unfolding which may soon damage the institutions"
Annita McVeigh reports
"The reality on the streets is of communities living in fear"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

24 Jul 02 | N Ireland
24 Jul 02 | N Ireland
23 Jul 02 | N Ireland
23 Jul 02 | N Ireland
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