Paramilitary watchdog to be established as NI Secretary makes first official Dublin visit

Four-member commission will monitor paramilitary activity and organised crime in the North

northern ireland

A loyalist mural showing paramilitary gunmen adorns a wall in East Belfast, Northern Ireland | Photo: PA Images

A new anti-terrorism agreement is to be signed by the Irish and British governments as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland makes his first official visit to Dublin.

James Brokenshire and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan will sign the treaty in Iveagh House this afternoon.

The accord will establish the Independent Reporting Commission (IRC), an independent body agreed as part of last year’s Fresh Start plan.

The four-member watchdog will monitor paramilitary activity and organised crime in the North.

It will be set up by the end of the year and submit annual reports until 2012.

Two members will be nominated by the UK and Republic, with the Northern Ireland executive putting forward the two others.

Mr Brokenshire and Mr Flanagan will also discuss the challenges posed by a UK exit from the EU, according to a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Flanagan described the agreement as an important step in implementing the Fresh Start deal reached in November.

“In our talks, we will be discussing the crucial work on dealing with the legacy of the past," he said.

“This will include discussions on how the ongoing efforts to reach agreement on establishing the Stormont House institutions can be stepped up and brought to successful conclusion.

“I will also reiterate to the Secretary of State the need to address the All-Party Dáil motion on the Dublin Monaghan bombings.

“As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, it is vital that the Irish and British governments continue to work together in a spirit of partnership to deliver on the full promise of that agreement and subsequent agreements.”