05/19/04 06:46 EST

British government moves to fine Sinn Fein over alleged
continued paramilitary activity by the IRA are to be
challenged in the courts, the party said today.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Bairbre de Brun confirmed the move
and also condemned the IMC (Independent Monitoring
Commission" whose report last month prompted the fines.

The IMC was set up at the behest of Ulster Unionist leader
David Trimble last year.

The West Belfast MLA said: "The IMC was established by the
British and Irish governments last year. It is clearly in
contravention of the Good Friday Agreement. The role of the
IMC was to facilitate the exclusion of Sinn Fein, to soft
pedal on unionist violence and to ignore totally the
behaviour of the British government, the party most in
breach of the Agreement. The IMC is not independent, that
much is obvious from its remit, its membership and the fact
that it bases its decisions on reports from the PSNI, the
British Army and the securocrats."

Last month the Monitoring Commission claimed it had evidence
that the IRA and loyalist paramilitary groups remained
active and were involved in a variety of illegal activities.

IMC members warned Sinn Fein that they could reveal the
identities of senior members of the party in alleged
leadership roles within the IRA.

Republicans have been angered by the establishment by the
British and Irish governments of the commission and were
furious when on the back of the first IMC report, the
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy imposed fines on Sinn
Fein and the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party.

The commission`s members are former Northern Ireland
Assembly Speaker Lord Alderdice, ex-Metropolitan Police
anti-terrorist squad chief John Grieve, retired Irish civil
servant Joe Brosnan and ex-United States CIA deputy director
Richard Kerr.

Ms de Brun, Sinn Fein`s European Parliament candidate in
Northern Ireland, denounced the IMC`s report as a proxy
report by members of the British military and intelligence
establishment opposed to the peace process.

The former Stormont Health Minister said: "The
recommendations are clearly discriminatory and subvert the
democratic and electoral rights and mandate of Sinn Fein and
our electorate. We already stated that we would challenge
this attack on our party with every means at our disposal
and at every door we go to in the upcoming election
campaign. We have now taken a decision to challenge the
British Government sanction against our party through the

"The British government action is a breach of the European
Convention on human rights and we intend to challenge this
through the courts in the coming period," said Ms de Brun.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein chairman Mitchell McLaughlin has said
that the British and Irish governments should initiate a
programme to deliver on aspects of the Good Friday Agreement
that do not depend on the participation of unionists.

During a visit to London yesterday, Mr. McLaughlin said the
two governments could not allow a unionist lack of
self-confidence to delay delivery on equality, policing,
demilitarisation and all-Ireland functions.

These issues were basic entitlements and did not depend on
the existence of the assembly, he said.

Mr McLaughlin suggested that the Irish government in
particular should be vigorous in its promotion of
all-Ireland social and economic development which would
alleviate problems created by partition, strengthen links
between people in all parts of the island and integrate the
economy and society.

"While Sinn Féin would share the aim of achieving the
maximum support of unionist parties, we are a long way from
being convinced that the DUP is serious about coming to an
accommodation that would permit the re-establishment of the
political institutions," he said.

"It is evident that the nationalist and republican
constituency have a confidence in our politics and our
assessment that the agreement, fully and faithfully
implemented, can provide the mechanism by which we can
achieve our political aspirations."

"However, the unionist political leaderships' confidence in
their ability to maintain and strengthen the status quo of
partition is diminishing."

Mr McLaughlin said that unionism in general had not yet come
to terms with the inevitable constitutional implications of
change, nor had it brought forward a political leadership
that would provide rational arguments in defence of the link
with Britain or the ability to give leadership in
circumstances where further constitutional change becomes

"The old catch cry of 'what we have we hold' is the
political mantra of the current leadership of unionism, as
it was for the unionist party in the past," he said.

"If it was otherwise, then the unionist community, through
that political leadership, would have the confidence to
embrace the agreement in all its elements, go back into the
institutions and allow the process to develop unhindered. We
may need, therefore, to be patient a little longer until
such a leadership emerges within unionism."

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