This will be a challenging and ambitious programme of work but we are determined to provide the leadership necessary to address this challenge and bring about a peaceful and prosperous future for our community.
That was the message from First Minister, Arlene Foster, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Justice Minister, Claire Sugden who today published the Action Plan for Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime.
A Fresh Start Agreement – The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan was published by the Executive and the two governments on 17 November 2015. This agreement set out proposals for addressing some of the most challenging and intractable issues that impact upon communities, including commitments to tackle paramilitarism and organised crime.
Implementing A Fresh Start is a priority for the Executive, as set out in the Draft Programme for Government Framework 2016-2021.
As part of the commitments in A Fresh Start, the Executive appointed an independent Three Person Panel to report to the Executive with recommendations for a strategy for disbanding paramilitary groups. The Panel’s report was published on 7 June and this Executive Action Plan sets out how the Executive intends to implement these recommendations.
The Ministers said: "We believe the Fresh Start agreement and the Panel report, along with the outcomes-based approach to cross-Executive working as represented in the draft Programme for Government, provide a unique opportunity to tackle paramilitary activity collectively as an Executive, and in an ambitious and collaborative manner.
"This document sets out our strategic approach to tackling paramilitarism and organised crime. It includes a series of actions that we will take, in conjunction with local communities, in pursuit of A Fresh Start, and in response to the recommendations made by the Panel, to address the impact of criminality and paramilitarism on our society.
"It recognises the multiple impacts paramilitary activity has on our society and the multi-faceted approach required to tackle it, ranging from robust action on the part of law enforcement agencies, to actions that support communities in bringing about a transition away from paramilitarism, and addressing the socio-economic issues that can lead to individuals becoming or remaining involved in paramilitary activity.
"Delivering this action plan requires recognition of the excellent work underway in communities to support and complete the transition away from paramilitarism. It will require partnership working across the Executive and with the UK and Irish Governments, law enforcement agencies, the public, private and voluntary and community sectors, and importantly, with local communities.
"Implementation of this action plan will be supported by the additional £25million over five years pledged by the Executive for tackling paramilitary activity in A Fresh Start. This is match funding for an additional £25million being provided to the Executive by the UK Government.
"We will meet regularly to review progress in delivering on the commitments made. Implementation will be coordinated by a Cross-Department Programme Board, chaired by the Department of Justice."
Notes to editors:
- View the Action Plan for Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality, and Organised Crime.
- All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.