I will ask the Taoiseach about the report drafted by the PSNI and MI5 for the Northern Ireland Secretary of State and which has been released to the British Parliament. The Secretary of State has spoken to the British Parliament about the report which deals with the structure, roles and purpose of paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. Its conclusions are of concern. It concludes that all of the main paramilitary groups remain in existence, including the UVF, the UDA, the Red Hand Commando and the Provisional IRA. It states, "Seventeen years after the 1998 Belfast Agreement, paramilitary groups remain a feature of life" in Northern Ireland and "all of the paramilitary groups maintain a relatively public profile in spite of being illegal organisations". These groups have "leadership structures and subgroups across Northern Ireland" and are organised along militaristic lines, using labels such as "brigade" and "army council". The report further states:
Members of these paramilitary groups continue to engage in violent activity, both directed by local leadership and conducted without sanction. Violence and intimidation are used to exercise control at community level.
It states that members of all groups have carried out murders since 1998 and it is further stated that members are involved in other serious criminal activities, which harms communities and damages the financial prosperity and reputation of Northern Ireland. The report goes on to say that this includes large-scale smuggling operations, fuel laundering, drug dealing and extortion of local businesses. It also says, very worryingly, that some weapons have not been decommissioned and that all groups have retained capacity in relation to weaponry. While the report points out a number of positives in the work of the leaders of these various paramilitary groups, it states that despite these positives, "we judge that individual members of paramilitary groups with a legacy of violent activity still represent a threat to national security, are engaged in organised crime and undermine Northern Ireland's post-conflict transformation". The report says that the structures of the Provisional IRA remain in existence, albeit in a much-reduced form. It includes a senior leadership, the provisional army council, which has an overarching strategy.
I put it to the Taoiseach that both Governments have taken their eyes off the ball with regard to comprehensively resourcing their intelligence capacity, particularly on the Garda side, and in terms of what has been going on in organised crime and racketeering. Will a comprehensive, well-resourced joint agency be established at British-Irish Government level to focus on organised crime, particularly by members of paramilitary groups, including fuel laundering and other criminal activities? Quite some months ago, the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly called for such a joint agency to be established on foot of the assembly's report. Will the Taoiseach work with the British Government to re-establish the International Monitoring Commission, given the conclusions of the report under discussion that the PSNI does not have the same level of intelligence that it once had and, as such, there is now a need for such a body to be reinstated?