DUBLIN -- The Irish Republican Army has ceased many threatening activities, including vigilante attacks and training new members, but remains involved in pervasive criminal rackets that will prove extremely difficult to suppress, international specialists said yesterday.
Britain and Ireland welcomed the findings from the Independent Monitoring Commission, a four-man panel that assesses the activities of the IRA and other outlawed paramilitary groups on behalf of both governments.
The IRA declared three months ago that it had abandoned its decades-old campaign to overthrow Northern Ireland and disarmament officials confirmed last month that they had scrapped the IRA's hidden weapons stockpiles.
Both events have raised hopes that negotiations to revive the major goal of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord -- a joint Roman Catholic-Protestant administration -- can be resumed soon.
Peter Hain, the British government minister responsible for governing the territory, said he would restore more than $700,000 in annual taxpayer funding to Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party that represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland.