No party can be found wanting following sobering report into paramilitary groups

Today should neither be a surprise nor a shock but it is sobering. The response should be certain. Once and for all, illegal groups whatever their structure must be gone for good.

Decisively and unambiguously, illegal activity must be faced down. The SDLP judgement is informed by the PSNI and Garda. We have not been in any denial or any doubt about the existence and activities of loyalist and republican groups. Our long held assessment has been corroborated in recent weeks.

There must be a whole hearted political approach to paramilitarism and criminality. No one, no party and no organisation should be found wanting.

We do not need to hear more Sinn Fein or other denials. Nearly 20 years since ceasefires and the Good Friday Agreement, illegal structures and activities have no place in the life of the island.
We should not hear the recycling of tired old denials which show a new contempt for Irish democracy.

There must be a wholehearted law enforcement approach to seeking out all involved in criminality and all who hold historic assets, be it for personal gain or not. Paramilitary organisations may be committed to peace but too many of their members want a piece of the action.

If there are not whole hearted political and law enforcement responses to the threats of illegal groups, then good citizens and good communities, which have been let down in the past, will be let down in the future.

The challenge in the talks is no less now than it was before. All parties should hold steady and exhaust the current opportunity to address properly paramilitarism and criminality, comprehensively deal with the Past and secure a budget to live up to the needs of all our people.

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