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Political deadlock undermining fight against paramilitaries, says Farry

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry has said it is deeply concerning after a major report revealed key reforms tackling paramilitarism have stalled due to the lack of an Executive.

His comments came as the Independent Reporting Commission, the body set up to monitor the implementation of the Executive's Paramilitary Action Plan, issued its first report.

"Paramilitarism, including the coervice control of communities, remains a major scourge in this society. We need a comprehensive and robust strategy involving a range of enforcement measures and investment in the infrastructure of communities," he said.

"If we are serious about tackling paramilitary activity, half-measures won't do. Alliance didn't believe the Paramilitary Action Plan did proper justice to the recommendations of the Fresh Start Panel nor was it sufficiently challenging to existing policies and practices.

"But even implementation of that Action Plan is being hampered. We welcome the activities and successes to date of the Paramilitary Task Force, and the launch of the End the Harm campaign. However, it is deeply concerning key legislative reforms are stalled due to the absence of the Assembly.

"Yet, it is also clear there is too much of a silo mentality across Departments and a lack of imagination and innovation. Alliance is particularly concerned at the lack of progress around the recommendation on how public sector agencies should interact with communities under paramilitary influence.

"Even when we look at policing, the investment in the Paramilitary Taskforce needs to be complemented by greater investment in policing with the community if real change via improved confidence in the PSNI and the criminal justice system are to be delivered.

"It is important all those involved in the delivery of the Action Plan reflect on this report and its recommendations."