19/10/2005

Sinn Fein allowances restored on IRA inactivity

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain has confirmed that Sinn Fein is to be given back its £120,000 in Assembly allowances.

The decision was announced in Parliament following the publication of the sixth Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report which said that there was "no evidence" of IRA "training or recruitment" after the groups July 28 decommissioning statement.

Mr Hain also said he would be asking the House of Commons to restore another £500,000 in Westminster allowances to Sinn Fein's four MPs.

Wednesday's report by the IMC on IRA activity said: "In the period before the (end of armed struggle) statement, PIRA in Northern Ireland continued to recruit and give briefings on personal security and counter-surveillance to new and existing members of the organisation.

"We believe that in the early part of the period under review in this report training took place, including in the use of weapons. We have no evidence of training or recruitment after the 28 July statement. There are indications that the organisation’s intelligence function remained active though its focus may be becoming more political. There has also been some identifying of drug dealers, though it is not clear for what purpose."

However, on the loyalist side, the IMC said both the UDA and the UVF, the two main organisations, had continued with their campaign of violence and organised crime.

In the case of the UDA, the IMC said the group had "remained active throughout this period" and that it had "supported sectarian intimidation against Catholics in Ahoghill". "During the summer the organisation considered mounting attacks against police and prison officers," it added.

The UVF, it said, continued to be involved in organised crime, including drugs, and that "it continued to target people it believed were members or associates of the LVF".

In conclusion, the IMC said that while the level of paramilitary violence remained high on the loyalist side, the downward trend in the total number of shooting casualties had continued.

The total number of casualties of assaults, meanwhile, has remained the same for 18 months, though it is a good deal less than it was over the period from March 2003–February 2004.

Earlier this week there was speculation that the LVF may be prepared to 'stand down'.

(MB/SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

24 June 2016
Campaign Launches To Encourage Sensible Alcohol Consumption Over The Twelfth Period
A billboard campaign has launched to encourage sensible alcohol consumption during the Twelfth of July celebrations in Northern Ireland. Launched by Belfast Orangefest, County Grand Master George Chittick was joined at the billboard unveiling at Frenchpark Street by South Belfast MLA Emma Little Pengelly.
06 June 2016
Bombardier Reports 'Worst Ever' Financial Period
Aerospace firm Bombardier has reported an operating loss of £194 million in 2015. The firm also warned that the "challenges will continue" and blamed the downturn following problems with its C Series programme. It has been described as one of its "worst ever" financial periods. The firm also said it has been difficult to identify new business.
23 March 2016
Seven Firefighters Attacked Over Easter Period Last Year
The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has revealed seven firefighters were attacked over the Easter period (30 March – 12 April 2015) last year. A total of 395 fires, which included 198 gorse fires, were also started deliberately.
10 October 2019
Health Service Enters Most Challenging Period
Challenges facing health and social care services in Northern Ireland have reached a peak, a health chief has warned. "Something has to give," was the message of Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, as he set out the increasing demands and ongoing budgetary constraints.
01 July 2019
'No Honeymoon Period' For New Police Chief
As the new PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne was sworn into his new role today, an SDLP MLA has highlighted the list of pressing issues that await him. Northern Ireland's marching season is set to get underway and policing continues to face challenges on several fronts as Mr Byrne succeeds Sir George Hamilton.