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20 October 2005 Edition

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Discriminatory sanctions lifted - PUP Funding Exposes IMC

Republicans greeted the latest report of the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) with the same response it gave to the previous six.

The IMC is a tool of British intelligence agencies and was established outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Composed of biased securocrats and unionists, its reports to date have been politically motivated, inaccurate, untrue, and aimed at vilifying Sinn Féin.

The last report resulted in financial sanctions against the party. On the foot of the latest report, these have now been removed. Republicans are not thankful, believing they should never have been imposed. Alex Maskey MLA said the sanctions were "designed to prevent the further development of the party and electoral advances." He went on to say Sinn Féin would continue to oppose IMC and British attempts to exclude democratically elected Irish representatives.

The latest report however removes the last excuse the DUP, which has used the reports to its advantage in the past, had for not engaging in the Peace Process and working with Sinn Féin. Speaking in Dublin on Wednesday, 19 October, Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said the IRA had fulfilled all the commitments made in the historic statement of 28 July. "They have addressed unionist concerns and removed any further excuse for non-engagement.

"The DUP must now decide if they want to come on board the peace process and the two governments must urgently address the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement including the early restoration of the political institutions," he added.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has accused the British government of "breathtaking double standards" following the revelation that the British government has imposed financial sanctions against Sinn Féin while providing ongoing funding for the UVF-associated PUP. The British government does not recognise the alleged UVF ceasefire and says the organisation was reposnsible for organising and carrying out much of the recent unionist paramilitary violence in the wake of the re-routed Whiterock Orange march. The UVF has also been behind widespread intimidation of nationalists in North Antrim and elsewhere.

Alex Maskey said:"Sinn Féin is opposed to the IMC and to politically motivated sanctions against democratically elected politicians. The British government has no right to discriminate against any Irish political representative.

"However the revelation that Sinn Féin was penalised while the PUP continued to receive funding confirms our view that the IMC was primarily a tool of the securocrats to be employed against Sinn Féin.

"This demonstration of double standards exposes the bad faith of the British government and an inherent pro-loyalist bias within the British system.

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