Irish Republican News and Information, 5 April 2002,
'SUBSTANTIAL' AMOUNT OF IRA ARMS PUT BEYOND USE
April 2, 2002
A 'substantial' amount of weapons and explosives have been put
beyond use in a second act of decommissioning by the IRA, the
IICD [International Independent Commission on Decommissioning]
A statement by the IRA this morning [Monday] revealed a second
tranche of arms had been put beyond use so that the peace process
could be "stabilised, sustained and strengthened", according to
The IRA leadership said it had taken the unilateral initiative
despite the difficulties it would cause for republicans "when
there are those who are not fulfilling their obligations".
"It could be argued that the IRA should not take such an
initiative, but it is precisely because of this that an
initiative has been undertaken," the statement said.
Last October the IRA agreed to disarm a cache of weapons at two
secret arms dumps.
In a report to the British and Irish governments [Monday] the
head of the international decommissioning body, General John de
Chastelain, suggested that the latest consignment had been a
A statement from the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning said: "We wish to inform you that we have
witnessed an event in which the IRA leadership has put a varied
and substantial quantity of ammunition, arms and explosive
material beyond use."
British Secretary John Reid said it showed the peace process was
moving in the right direction and he challenged the loyalist
paramilitaries to start getting rid of their guns as well.
He said: "It is now more than ever incumbent on the loyalist
paramilitary groups to respond and match the IRA's important
action with steps of their own. I hope we will see them doing so
General de Chastelain and his colleague Andrew Sens, have been
overseeing the process and confirmed more talks will take place
with the IRA representative.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman "it is
clearly another very welcome piece of news".
"What it shows is that the Good Friday Agreement -- which is four
years' old this week -- is being implemented in all its aspects,"
"As the Prime Minister said yesterday, no one pretends we have
made the transition from conflict to a normal society completely
yet. But bit by bit, day by day, we are we are getting there.
And what it shows is that a peace process that involves many
painful decisions by many people does actually deliver a better
society and does deliver a society in which lives are saved on a
But Mr Blair's spokesman refused to say when there will be a
resolution to the outstanding anomaly of IRA Volunteers on the
run being unable to return home.
The Ulster Unionist leader welcomed the IRA arms move, but
hardline unionists dismissed it.
The hardline Democratic Unionist Party described the IRA move as
a "stunt". DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said the move was "an
event of no significance" which had been timed to help Sinn Fein
win seats in the 26 County general election in May.
But Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said the latest move on
arms showed republicans were involved in a process of
decommissioning and made anti-Agreement unionists look foolish.
"Now we have got a process of decommissioning coming from
republicans, loyalists must realise that there is more urgency
for them to start their own process."
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon about the latest
IRA arms initiative, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP,
accompanied by Louth councillor Arthur Morgan and Upper Bann MLA
Dara O'Hagan, welcomed the news, which he said was further
evidence of the IRA's commitment to the peace process.
"No one should underestimate the difficulties this causes for
many republicans. This includes many, many republicans and
nationalists who have never been near guns and who never want to
see guns used again.
"For them this is another huge move by the IRA leadership.
"This initiative also has to be set against the multiple failures
in the implementation of the Agreement, principally by the
"The Army statement makes it clear that this is a unilateral
initiative. That it is a leadership initiative and that it is
taken at a time when others are not fulfilling their obligations.
In fact it makes the point that it is precisely because of this,
and because it wishes the peace process to be stabilised that it
has moved once again.
"It is obvious to anyone interested in implementing the Good
Friday Agreement that on policing, on demilitarisation, human
rights, equality and justice there remain significant gaps
between what was agreed over four years ago in the Good Friday
Agreement and what has been delivered so far.
"These difficulties can be traced back to the behaviour and
attitude of those within the British system, the securocrats and
bureaucrats, who refuse to accept the imperatives of making
"The failure of the British government to face down these people
has given encouragement to their efforts. There are sections of
unionism who also oppose change. All of this is unacceptable and
"The IRA is leading by example. If this peace process is to
succeed others, but especially the British government, have to
accept responsibility for these difficulties and move to curb
the dangerous and damaging actions of those over whom they have
influence and control.
"It is time to see real progress being made on all of these
outstanding issues. We have only to look at the Middle East to
see that the imperative of peace making has to prevail".