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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Monitoring body discusses remit
Left to right, John Grieve, Joseph Brosnan, Lord Alderdice and Richard Kerr
Left to right, John Grieve, Joseph Brosnan, Lord Alderdice and Richard Kerr
A four-man body set up to monitor paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland has met for the first time.

The Independent Monitoring Commission, which is a crucial element in the British and Irish Governments' plan for restoring devolution, met in Belfast on Sunday.

It is currently in shadow form, but will be formally constituted when the governments give effect to an International Agreement published last month.

Although legislation to set up the commission has been approved in the House of Commons, it has not yet been passed in the Irish parliament.

Speaking after the meeting, Lord Alderdice said they had discussed how to operate their remit for the first time.

He said the first stage would involve gathering information from a wide range of people.

"The commissioners recognise the heavy responsibilities the two governments have placed on them and look forward to discharging them in due course," he added


The commission will report on the IRA and loyalist ceasefires every six months and scrutinise the government's programme of demilitarisation and complaints about political tactics which threaten the stability of the devolved institutions.

The commission comprises of Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Commander John Grieve, former head of the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist squad, Stormont Speaker Lord Alderdice and retired Irish civil servant Joe Brosnan.

However, only the British Government's nominees - Lord Alderdice and John Grieve - will examine how devolved ministers and Northern Ireland parties are honouring their commitments under the Good Friday Agreement.

The commission arose out of discussions on the joint declaration earlier this year involving London and Dublin and the political parties.

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