DUP rejects IRA arms inventory
A punblished inventory of weapons decommissioned by the
Provisional IRA would come as "too little, too late," a DUP
politician has said.
The inventory is reported to be part of a new plan by the London and
Dublin governments to coax Ian Paisley's hardline unionist party
into talks with Sinn Fein.
The inventory would be timed to follow an imminent government
report into the IRA , which is expected to find that the IRA has
ceased all military activity.
But DUP assembly member Ian Paisley jnr said: "The suggestion
that the British and Dublin governments are considering the
publication of an inventory of IRA weapons supposedly destroyed
last year in order to assure unionists, will be regarded by many
as too little, too late."
He said the DUP had argued for their own witness, an independent
photographic record of the process, and an inventory, but this
had been dismissed.
"Now that the government is considering doing part of what they
once said was impossible, many will see for themselves the folly
of all those who participated in a decommissioning process that
failed to build the confidence of unionists but just blurred the
"If it is now suddenly possible to do what was claimed to be
impossible, why was it not achieved at the time?"
There has been independent confirmation of the report, which
appeared in a Sunday newspaper.
Mr Paisley also queried the reliability of an inventory which had
not been verified by photographs and a witness of the DUP's own
He said that the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning had confirmed to the DUP that an inventory it had
previously worked from had been revised down.
These matters amounted to "significant credibility gaps," Mr
"The government knows that the DUP is genuine in its desire to
see progress but it must be on a firm foundation," he said.
"Unionists deserve to have their confidence built but that will
not be achieved by short-term measures that are all about saving
face rather than saving lives."
STEPS NEEDED ON POLICING
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has said it will not be in a position to
consider supporting the PSNI police in the North until after
negotiations on the shape of a future justice department.
The party is ultimately to hold a special party conference [Ard
Fheis] to consider a change in its policy on policing. Sinn Fein
is negotiating for further reform of the PSNI in line, with the
recommendations of the Patten Commission set up under the Good
A first step is expected to be taken by the British government
next month by preparing "enabling legislation" for the devolution
of policing and justice powers.
The British, 26 County and US governments have been pressuring
Sinn Fein to quickly sign up to policing but republicans have so
far resisted such a move.
In a statement, Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly said:
"The reports that an enabling bill for the transfer of power on
policing and justice is to be introduced to Westminster is a
welcome first step.
"Publicly and in meetings with the British government Sinn Fein
have been pushing strongly for the transfer of powers on policing
and justice away from London.
"In negotiations with Sinn Fein in December 2004 the British
government agreed to introduce this framework legislation as a
"However, the important detail of the powers to be transferred,
what the best departmental model is and the timeframe involved
are all issues which need to be worked out as a matter of
"The DUP amongst others need to be ready to discuss the detail on
transfer as a core issue in setting up the interdependent
political institutions agreed under the Good Friday agreement."