Panel will assess paramilitaries and criminal groups in N.I.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has commissioned an independent assessment of paramilitary organisations and organized crime in the six-county province.

The move is aimed at averting the collapse of the power-sharing government at Stormont. The 18 September announcement immediately convinced two unionist parties that had walked away from the government to rejoin negotiations with nationalist parties.

“This assessment will be independently reviewed and checked by three individuals who I will appoint,” Villiers was quoted in the Belfast Telegraph. “This assessment will be published by mid-October and will be available to inform the parties’ discussions and conclusions in the cross party talks.”

The Irish Times offers this “key questions” piece on the political situation.