WHILE the now defunct Independent Monitoring Commission didn’t always get it right, at least its reports were comprehensive.

Posted By: October 21, 2015

Allison Morris.Irish News( Belfast). Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The government-ordered assessment of paramilitary activity was a masterclass in
stating the obvious.

That the UDA is fragmented and some areas continue to be involved in violence is
hardly shocking news.

That the UVF leadership has only 'limited control over its membership' and in some
cases is heavily involved in 'violence and crime' - again, no gasp out loud moment.

The INLA still has weapons and is involved in crime and violence and has been
responsible for paramilitary-style attacks. So far, so predictable.

And of course the much-hyped assessment of the Provisional IRA told us no more about
the murder of Kevin McGuigan than the Chief Constable George Hamilton already stated
in August.

That the army council structures remain in place, albeit not meeting on a war
footing, was again not news. Fuel smuggling and laundering at the border, ditto.

The report does, however, contain a few eyebrow-raising lines, including that
members of the IRA are involved in the 'storage of remaining weaponry' to prevent
them falling into the hands of dissident republicans.

"Your Honour, I was minding them to stop the bad boys getting them" would make for
an interesting defence in court.

There's also a claim that the IRA is still attempting to identify 'covert human
intelligence sources' - that's spook speak for informers.

What it doesn't say is what's going to happen to these people once they are identified.

More to the point, why would MI5 still be recruiting informers in a dormant
organisation anyway?

Yesterday's report was based on intelligence provided by the PSNI and MI5 - still
very much running the show when it comes to paramilitary activity in the north - and
as such we were always only going to get an intelligence rather than evidence-based

Security wise there were no big shocks. It should come as little surprise that
paramilitary groups have fragmented, in many cases into organised criminal gangs.

That an organisation the size of the IRA would retain some kind of leadership
structure should again come as no big revelation.

The only surprising aspect is that it took more than a month and a team of experts
to tell us all.