By Paul Hoskins and Adam Pasick | February 1, 2006
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Northern Ireland's ceasefire watchdog said on Wednesday the Irish Republican Army was keeping to a disarmament pledge it made last July but was still involved in spying and organized crime.
The British government hailed a "sea change" by the guerrilla group, but a chilly reaction from Northern Ireland's biggest unionist party underlined the difficulty of breaking a political stalemate in the province.
Dublin and London had hoped that the watchdog's findings would help build trust between opposing parties and kick-start talks on reviving a mothballed provincial government in which pro-Irish and pro-British opponents once shared power.
"Like an oil tanker, the (IRA) will take a while to turn completely, and there is likely to be added turbulence in the wash as it does so," the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) said in a report.