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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Reaction to the 12th IMC report
Leading political figures have been giving their reaction to the 12th report of the Independent Monitoring Commission.

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER

"The IRA's campaign is over.

"There is now a consensus across all main players in the politics of Northern Ireland, that change can only come through persuasion and not through violence of any sort.

"The IRA has done what we asked it to do, and while issues like policing remain to be solved, the door is now open to a final settlement which is why the talks next week in Scotland are going to be so important."

PETER HAIN, NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY

"We believe this report does lay the basis for final settlement of the conflict in Northern Ireland and an end to the political stalemate.

"As such, we think it presents a unique opportunity for this generation of politicians to reach that final solution, an opportunity the government hopes the parties will now seize and not miss a fantastic window."

BERTIE AHERN, IRISH PRIME MINISTER

Mr Ahern said the report offered convincing evidence of the IRA's commitment to the political path.

The taoiseach spoke of "profound transformation" and urged the parties to come to Scotland for next week's talks ready to address the obstacles.

He added that it would be "unconscionable for this opportunity to be missed".

LORD ALDERDICE, CHAIRMAN OF THE IMC

Presenting the report, Lord Alderdice outlined how the IRA was "clamping down" on criminal activity by its members.

"The leadership has maintained a firm stance against the involvement of members in criminal activity.

"That doesn't mean that criminal activity by all members has stopped, but the leadership has made public statements and internal directions, investigated incidents of breach of the policy, even expelled some members, and has emphasised the importance of ensuring that business affairs are conducted in a legitimate way."

IAN PAISLEY, DUP LEADER

"The assessment by the IMC that the Provisional IRA is progressively abandoning its terrorist structures shows that the pressure being brought to bear on republicans by the unequivocal policies of the DUP is working.

"As I have indicated on numerous occasions, the days of pushover unionists are gone and Sinn Fein/IRA know that they can no longer expect to be engaged in terrorist and criminal activity and be in government in Northern Ireland.

"Our unyielding approach forged by the strong mandate given to us in successive elections, has brought about the progress that the IMC reports.

"The spotlight on the terrorist and criminality activity of various paramilitary organisations stands in stark contrast to the time whenever this matter was shunted to the sidelines.

"The fact that, unlike in the past, this important issue is at the top of the agenda, will be welcomed by all of those who wish to see an exclusively peaceful and democratic basis for devolution in Northern Ireland."

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN LEADER

"How long are other parties going to cast about for an excuse, or for some straw to stop them from coming forward and taking up their rightful position of administering rule in this part of our island?

"A deal could be done tomorrow morning, a deal could be done this evening.

"The question is for Ian Paisley, does he want British direct rule ministers, who have no accountability whatsoever to people on this part of the island, who are imposing water charges, imposing rates, cutting hospital facilities, thrashing educational facilties, have no concern about their rural communities, are they going to be allowed to continue, or... are the different political parties which have a mandate going to take up our responsibililties?

"The DUP don't have anything other than very limited options... if they don't participate they are condeming people here, but particularly their own constitents, to second-class public services, run by second-class fly-in fly-out British ministers."

ALASDAIR MCDONNELL, SDLP

"What's very clear is that the (IRA) army council has moved forward and dismantled the war machine.

"I welcome the moves the IRA have made.

"The DUP has been living in a flat earth planet for 35 years.

"The world's moving on and even the Provos have moved on, they've wakened up.

"I believe we have the bones of a deal, (but) there's a fair bit of work to be done fleshing those out. The DUP can't go on saying no for ever."

DERMOT NESBIT, UUP

"Terrrorism, paramilitary activity has ceased but the organisation remains.

"The IRA is still an illegal organisation and it is using illegally-gained funds for political purposes.

"We sat in government three times with Sinn Fein, it didn't work.

"We re-considered our position, we said there had to be acts of completion, weapons, crime etc, one of those, the dismantling of the paramilitary organisation, that hasn't happened.

"The IRA still exists, it has massive funds and that begs the question, have the IRA done enough?"

DAVID FORD, ALLIANCE PARTY LEADER

"While this report does not give a perfect verdict on the IRA, the DUP leadership must now ask themselves how realistic it is to chase perfection.

"There is a law of diminishing returns in how much further reports of this kind can go.

"Politics often involves a leap of faith.

"After so much progress, the DUP must consider the risk of chasing perfection against the risk of passing up the opportunity for devolution."

DAVID ERVINE, PUP LEADER

"I don't agree with their verdict, I don't accept the IMC is independent.

We are going through a process of change, not just the IRA, the UVF, all of us.

"The UVF will not go away until there's accountable democracy.

"My belief is that in the longer term there is nowhere for paramilitarism to go, but we must have accountable democracy."

DAVID LIDINGTON, SHADOW NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY

"Taken with the decommissioning of illegal weapons and last year's IRA statement ending its so-called 'armed campaign', the report represents major progress in the republican movement's transition from terrorism to democratic politics.

"But, as the IMC makes clear, the issue of policing remains unresolved.

"In a democracy, support for the police and the rule of law is not some optional extra. It is a fundamental duty of every politician and political party.

"The IMC states that the republican leadership is instructing its members not to engage in criminal activities.

"That is good and welcome news. We now need to hear republican leaders instruct their members and supporters to cooperate fully with the police and the courts."

PAT RABBITTE, IRISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER

"This report represents significant progress in terms of the IRA ending its paramilitary campaign and not having the capacity to return to violence.

"Moreover, it is encouraging regarding the end of criminality, despite the fact that some IRA members continue to be involved in criminal activities.

"The report must not be dismissed by the DUP, who increasingly use their own standards and judgements to assess republicans rather than those of the independent commission.

"In fact, the report totally removes the false arguments of the DUP, presented to justify not participating in a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein and the SDLP."




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