I must be clear where the Government stands on all acts of violence and intimidation, including punishment beatings, active intimidations, threats and the continuing sectarian attacks in some areas of Northern Ireland. We condemn them absolutely and unequivocally.
The politics and the political agreement which has now been copperfastened by institutions and the reform of policing, offer the best guarantee that violence will be put behind us for good. The progress of recent weeks has brought us a further step closer to that goal.
On the difficulty in getting statistics for the number of expulsions, as they are called, given the nature of the problem, neither the groups involved in making the threats nor those who receive them are likely to make information on numbers available. In recent consultations with the British authorities on the matter it was confirmed that figures are not maintained on the numbers of people forced to leave Northern Ireland and it is not feasible to try and collate such figures.
The Victims' Commissioner, Mr. John Wilson, noted in his report that a number of those affected by paramilitary exiling are residing in this jurisdiction and the Government is currently examining measures aimed at alleviating their plight. This is being carried out in the context of the Government's consideration of the report of the Victims' Commission, which addressed the issue of the exiled in detail. The Victims' Commissioner has made a number of concrete recommendations to assist those exiled, including possible arrangements to facilitate those who wish to return home to Northern Ireland. These recommendations, together with—