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Independent Reporting Commission. (2021) Independent Reporting Commission: fourth report. Dublin: Department of Justice.

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This is the Fourth Report of the Independent Reporting Commission. We were established following the Fresh Start Agreement (2015) to report on progress towards ending paramilitary activity connected with Northern Ireland, and to report on and inform the implementation of the Executive’s Action Plan for Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime. In Section A of the Report we give an overview of the situation and ongoing work. We present various sets of publicly available data and research about the level and impact of paramilitary activity over the last year in Section B. In Section C, we offer our commentary on each of the Actions that the Executive committed to in 2016. We outline progress against our recent Recommendations and summarise new Recommendations from this Report in Section D.

It has been a mixed and challenging year. Reaction to Brexit, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, has led to new complexities and increasing prominence around paramilitarism. Disorder on the streets in the Spring and Autumn have led to speculation about the potential for a resurgence of paramilitary activity. Overall, we remain concerned about the risks posed to society by the continuing existence of paramilitary structures which can be harnessed for the purposes of violence or the threat of violence. We stated in our last Report and we repeat now: paramilitarism remains a clear and present danger.

Our Report provides an overview of the complex landscape of paramilitarism. Those involved range from individuals and groups who use paramilitarism as a cloak for overt criminality (ranging from extortion, drug dealing, threats, trade in counterfeit goods, money laundering, illegal money lending, sexual exploitation and other illegal activities), to others who get caught up in it for reasons to do with socio-economic disadvantage. Some of this is related to the lack of an alternative pathway, to poor educational and employment opportunities, challenges to do with drugs, as well as addiction and mental health, and peer pressure.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
December 2021
122 p.
Department of Justice
Corporate Creators
Independent Reporting Commission
Place of Publication
Related (external) link

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