Decommisioning: proof or humiliation?

Yes, the wrangling goes on. Neither the DUP nor Sinn Fein show any signs of being impressed by the latest tranche of deadlines to make a deal. The key sticking point (at the moment) is over the degree of proof required by Unionists that the IRA has done what it claims to have done.

Speculation in the past that Blair’s premiership difficulties over the war in Iraq, might quicken his appetite for an early deal seems to have been over stated. An early deal is certainly do-able particularly if Doctor Paisley sanctions it. But no one seriously doubts the patience of the folk at Dundela Avenue matches those in Sevastopol Street. It could be 2006 before the deal is finally done!

  • Davros

    The British Government fulfilled it’s GFA obligations over Patten. SF should insist that the IRA fulfill THEIR GFA obligations.

  • Will

    Unfortunately the Belfast Agreement left the IRA able to claim it didnt have any responsibilities

    It read:
    “They (the parties) also confirm their intention to continue to work constructively and in good faith with the Independent Commission, and to use any influence they may have, to achieve the decommissioning of all paramilitary arms within two years following endorsement in referendums North and South of the agreement and in the context of the implementation of the overall settlement.” (the CAIN site is an invaluable resource)

    So it left SF able to say they were using their influence, but the IRA able to do little or nothing because they wernt actually obliged.

    It was a fudge and the proof of the pudding has been in the eating – the fact that we have seen little or no decommissioning up to this date. The IRA also has to understand the absolute lack of confidence the unionist community has in their willingness to do anything towards decommissioning – not helped either by the farcical stunts up to now. Unionists need to be able to believe that decommissioning has actually occurred and that all the guns etc are now out of the way.

  • North Antrim Realist

    Decomissioning in itself proves nothing, as arms can quickly be replaced, it is the message that it sends out that is important.

    Therefore for me the most important happenings would be statements from the IRA and Loyalist groups saying –

    ‘We have permanently decomissioned all our arms, we no longer need them as all forms of violence are now irrevocably in the past and we are committed only to democratic politics in future’.

    This to me would mean more than inventories, photographs or statements from Governments, it would be a public committment in the face of the the world that the violence is permanently over. Any group who went back on this committment would have no support anywhere in our current ‘anti terrorism’ world.

    Let’s not get hung up on semantics.

  • fair_deal

    The changes to the RUC took place in visible.
    The removal of watchtowers took place in visible.
    The reduction in troop numbers and army patrols were visible.
    The release of prisoners was visible.
    Limits on flying the Union flag and partial removal of crown symbols in law courts were visible.
    The creation of cross-border bodies was visible.
    The running of the assembly was visible.
    The one act of loyalist decommissioning was visible.
    The Bloody Sunday Inquiry was held in public.

    As far as I can see everything else in the agreement or its outworkings has been in public and visible. Why is decommisioning in a visual way humiliation? Or has everyone else been humiliated over the past five years?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The British government gave undertakings on drawing up a plan for comprehensive demilitarisation (normalisation in their parlance), they have failed to do this and are therefore in a breach of trust.

    IRA activity has virtually stopped that is visual, or are people seeing only what they want to see.

  • ShayPaul

    Agree with NAR, any “visible” act could always be used simply to create more fear of further “invisible” stock piles by anyone wishing to play the negatives.

    The true requirement is a clear cut statement that it is over as far as arms are concerned.

  • fair_deal


    The plan you refer to is ready it was part of last year’s sequence.

    So its not a visual requirement that is a problem it is the lack of this plan?

  • North Antrim Realist

    Fair Deal

    Do you know what arms the various grouping have?

    Do they even know exactly what they have?

    So how does anyone know that they will all be destroyed?

    With visible decomissioning you will know exactly what has been destroyed not what could have been destroyed. I much prefer the statements that the violence is permanently over even if some arms unknown to the ‘spooks’ remain buried in a dump somewhere.

    Lets get on with it politicians and terrorists.

  • Will

    If you dont think the various security and intelligence agencies dont know near enough what arms all the groups hold then you’re in cloud cookoo land.

    Also, deChastelain is supposed to have been developing an inventory (with the groups themselves) of what arms are held. So therefore, if their intentions are so genuine, will they not have told the General the truth?

    Words from the IRA, UDA, UVF or any of the other lot may make you feel better, but they just dont cut it for me – or most unionists for that matter. I wont take the IRA’s word for it that they are now going to be good guys. I want deChastelain to be satisfied, and I want enough information, visible & otherwise to satisfy unionists that they mean what they say.

  • ShayPaul

    If you dont think the various security and intelligence agencies dont know near enough what arms all the groups hold then you’re in cloud cookoo land.

    Will have a look round your nest – yep them’s cuckoos.

  • North Antrim Realist


    If they know so much about what they have and where they are why don’t they just blow them up now?

    From what you are saying they are colluding with the terrorists so they can keep the arms for some great gesture of visible or invisible decomissioning.

  • Henry94

    The IRA may have put themselves in a logical bind here. If they just went a way and decommissioned then that would be the end of it.

    But if they are trying to negotiate concessions in return for decommissioning then they are putting the manner and means of decommissioning up for discussion too.

    Just do it.

  • Davros

    Good point Henry. And another point – Unionist Politicians by focussing on decommissioning have in effect empowered them to use the decommissioning issue to extract those concessions.

  • Davros

    A point made in Peace comes dropping slow πŸ˜‰