Plan dismissed as ‘weak wish list’

IRA GUNMAN
IRA GUNMAN

Some opposition parties at Stormont have dismissed the Executive’s action plan to tackle paramilitary activity as “utterly weak” and “little more than a wish list”.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said the panel’s report has “no real detail as to how to achieve its goals”.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt

He said: “We are deeply disappointed with the contents of the action plan, which has arrived three weeks late and utterly bereft of concrete actions. It isn’t an action plan. It’s a promissory note.”

Mr Nesbitt said the language used “suggests these people will be around in a structured paramilitary manner for years to come”, and added: “It is time, high time, they disbanded and ceased their destructive activities now.

“They terrorise their own communities, they put legitimate traders out of business and they stain our international reputation on the world stage. Enough is enough.”

David Ford said it was disappointing that the report failed to state a number of expected timescales and objectives.

The Alliance leader said it was “not what was needed to combat paramilitarism”.

He added: “Throughout the Executive response, there appears to be a lot of non-specific language, with no timescales, and little indication of funding to be provided.

“Without any measurable objectives, it would be simple for the Executive to fudge its actions over this matter.

“The response also commits many of the recommendations to existing reviews and processes, rather than demonstrating innovative thinking”.

The TUV’s Andrew Girvin described the report as “farcical”.

“Remember that the Executive only pretended to be exercised about the issue after Her Majesty’s Government produced a report which told us that the IRA not only existed but it had an Army Council, access to weapons and had been involved in murder,” he said.

“It is clear that the Executive not only doesn’t have any notion about how to deal with paramilitaries but has a vested interest in the public forgetting about the key role which one paramilitary group plays in the government of our Province.”