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Statement on Northern Ireland by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD


"The assessment of various paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland carried out by the PSNI and the British Security Services, and published today by the British Government, makes for sobering reading.

"While acknowledging that these paramilitary organisations no longer represent a terrorist threat, it nonetheless presents a complex and challenging profile of unacceptable residual activities by various groups in Northern Ireland which are damaging to communities and which must be addressed.

"The assessment underscores the critical importance of the political Talks process currently underway in Northern Ireland.  These talks, which were convened to protect the power sharing institutions, are focussed on addressing the impact and legacy of paramilitarism and fully implementing the Stormont House Agreement.  Today’s assessment by the PSNI and the British Security Services will, I hope, provide fresh momentum in the Talks process.

"21 years from the first paramilitary ceasefires, the transition to a fully normalised society in Northern Ireland must be taken forward definitively.  All participants in the Stormont House Talks have a duty of care to the people of this island to bring an end to the remaining blight of paramilitarism in communities.  It is incumbent on all political parties involved in the Talks to urgently engage on this critical issue and, together with the British and Irish Governments, to agree outcomes that provide lasting peace and political stability in Northern Ireland."