IRA ARMS MOVE CONFIRMED
An official announcement by the IICD arms decommissioning
body that the Provisional IRA has fully disarmed is to be
announced this afternoon.
The IRA announced an end to its armed campaign in July, but
this latest development is seen as the most substanatial
move to peace since the 1994 ceasefire.
General John de Chastelain, head of the body overseeing the
disarmament, is then expected to give a news conference,
with statements from the two independent witnesses. These
are clergymen from either side of the North's political
divide: Catholic churchman Fr Alex Reid, who has long
played a behind-the-scenes role in the peace process, and
the ex-methodist president Harold Good.
Separate statements are also expected to be forthcoming
from Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and the IRA. Sinn
Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness will travel to
Washington on Tuesday where he is expected to brief Irish
"I am confident that tomorrow will bring the final chapter
on the issue of IRA arms," Mr McGuinness said last night.
"I believe that Ireland stands on the cusp of a truly
historic advance and I hope that people across the island
will respond positively in the time ahead," he added.
At the British Labour Party conference in Brighton on
Wednesday, British Direct Ruler Peter Hain is expected to
announce a number of conesssions to unionists aimed at
persuading the DUP to adopt a more positive response to the
IRA move than has been predicted.
However, DUP leader Ian Paisley has claimed that a secret
deal has been reached over the disarmament, and has
demanded that a witness of his choice verifies it.
In addition, Mr Paisley has demanded a photographic record
to the disarmament process, a demand he has openly linked
to the humiliation of the IRA.
"Unionists are not going to be pushed over by the duplicity
of either the IRA or the two governments," said Mr Paisley.
"We have a right to know the truth. The day for deception
is over, the day for the truth, the whole truth and nothing
but the truth has come."
"A large propaganda campaign by the Government to sell the
diluted form of decommissioning agreed with the IRA will
not relieve the situation," Mr Paisley added.
British Direct Ruler Peter Hain said last week that any
decommissioning had to be "credible".
"People have got to see that there is the biggest dumping
of arms and getting rid of the IRA's arsenal than ever
before," he said.
He said decommissioning could lead to the resumption of
"When that is clear then I think we should get all the
parties round to start discussing the resumption of self-