Details are key to success of decommissioning

Brian Rowan talks to a senior member of the government talks source, who emphasises the importance of clarity in the reporting of the IRA’s decommissioning. It sounds like the IRA are not accepting any suggestions as to who should be the protestant churchman witnesses from the DUP unless they talk face to face with Sinn Fein. However, if they muffle de Chastellaine, or do not allow clear public verification, the stated purpose of the move (‘removing of excuses not to deal with Sinn Fein’) will not be fulfilled.

  • Henry94

    There is nothing the IRA, the governments, the clergymen or the general can say or do that will make unionists welcome accept or believe decommissioning. That is the political reality. So I wouldn’t waste too much time on unionist reaction.

    It is utter nonsense to suggest that DUP reaction will be the test of decommissioning. This story is complete rubbish.

  • Dessertspoon

    I don’t know that it’s rubbish Henry it’s just not anything we didn’t know already. I agree unionist reaction is largely not worth worrying about for the reasons you have outlined. I can’t help but think that if the DUP had shown that they had some balls and sorted this “deal” out last Christmas then they could indeed have had more of a say in how it was done but then I suppose that would mean no excuse for not getting one with things once the guns had finally gone.

  • iluvni

    How do those last two comments square with the IRA’s apparent wish to ‘maximise public confidence in their intentions’?

    It’s not just DUP supporters who don’t trust them and require conclusive proof of their acts of decommissioning.

    As they say, you can fool 25% of the people all the time…..

  • Henry94


    It’s not just DUP supporters who don’t trust them and require conclusive proof of their acts of decommissioning.

    The DUP require no such thing. What they require is an excuse to keep selling fear to their voters. Because it’s all they have.

  • Sean

    Rumour has it that an act of decommissioing took place in Co. Mayo yesterday at around 6.30 p.m

  • iluvni


    You’re avoiding the question. I’m no DUP voter but secret decommissioning isn’t going to ‘maximise my confidence’ either.

    Your Provos have done nothing to address this issue and as far as I see, Republicans like yourself think we’re all suddenly going to change our opinions on the back of a wee statement from the General along the lines of the same nonsense as before.

    We haven’t gone away you know.

  • fair_deal

    John Bruton once chided the government by saying a concession held on for too long stops being considered a concession when it is finally given.

    Decommissioning was the concession of five years ago. Post-McCartney/Northern bank (plus the Colombia 3 debacle) three things were asked of the SF/IRA/RM decommissioning, disbandment and participation. They came back with the bare minimum (decommissioning only) and it looks like they will only do that on their terms.

    Minimalism will not result in great leaps forward. A bigger opportunity is probably going to be missed.

    “It is utter nonsense to suggest that DUP reaction will be the test of decommissioning”

    The reaction of a key participant in the peaxe process is “utter nonsense”. Hmmmm.

  • fair_deal


    and participation in policing structures

  • JD


    The issue of decommissioning has been clearly exposed as the red herring it always was, and all we can hear now is the creaking noise of the goal posts being moved once again. Disbandment, participation in policing structures, what next?

    None of the governments involved in this peace process are calling for disbandment and unionists are champing at the bit to resign from policing boards if republicans sign up to policing, so make up your minds.

    The issue of republican arms will shortly be confined to the history books, exclusively peaceful means is being persued by all republicans, unionism will soon have nowhere to hide and the time for decisions will have come.

  • Ringo


    the reason the herring is red because thats the colour they go when they’ve been out of the water 7 years.

    As a matter of interest, what use have the guns been in the past 7 years, (aside from wangling concessions)?

  • JD

    Not much, Ringo, in fact I’m sure they were a nuisance to maintain and ensure that they did not fall into the wrong hands. I was someone who always felt that republicans had become too emotionally attached to weapons.

    However that is not the issue, unionism has tried to use this issue as an obstacle in order to prevent change, that obstacle (real or imagined) is now being removed and the real reasons for unionist intransigence will be exposed.

  • middle-class taig


    btw, in case you missed it, you’ve got “the war is over” if you’d only look beyond your rhetoric and recognise it – or, is that suddenly no longer a concession you were whingeing for?

    Disbandment won’t be offered and shouldn’t be asked for.

    The British government paid a tidy sum for war is over; they’ll pay again for decommissioning; and they’ll have to pay once more for “participation”. That’s what happens when you don’t negotiate. The deal gets done over your head.

  • fair_deal


    To be accurate we got “the campaign is over”. the same as they said at the end of the border campaign.

    “Disbandment won’t be offered and shouldn’t be asked for.”

    You like having paramilitary groups?

    “That’s what appens when you don’t negotiate”

    Post Xmas the unionists weren’t asked to negotiate. They had done their talking and came to a deal in december. A deal the Provos walked away from, although all the changes they got to the deal still stand.

    Unionist participation has a price too.

  • Keith M

    For me decommissioning stopped being an issue in May 2000. When the deadline for the completion of decommissioning in the Belfast Agreement passed and the Provos had not moved an inch, it hammered home the first nail in the coffin of the agreement. Decommissioing was never about removing the terrorist threat. We all know that SF/IRA have been importing arms since their first “ceasefire”.

    Decommissioning was a symbolic gesture to prove the good faith of the terorists and that they were prepared to move away from the bullet and only use the ballot box. When that gesture wasn’t forthcoming it cast a shadow over the bona fides of the terrorists. Any move on decommissioning now (especially if it is done under the terrorist terms) is meaningless. The only way that the bona fides of the terrorists can now be proved is by a sustained period of inactivity.

  • Dessertspoon

    Not wanting to make excuses for SF or the IRA but to say that the deal last Xmas was “A deal the Provos walked away from..” is to willfully ignore the shift of goal posts from the DUP to a position they and everyone knew would cause the deal to fail. They didn’t walk away as much as the DUP ran screaming…

  • Henry94


    Decommissioing was never about removing the terrorist threat.

    Of course not. It was about finding something unionism could unite around. And they don’t want to give it up. So no matter what happens next Tuesday there will not be a positive response from political unionism. They can’t afford it.


    P.S I was only joking about Tuesday.

  • fair_deal

    “is to willfully ignore the shift of goal posts from the DUP to a position they and everyone knew would cause the deal to fail”

    What shifting of the goal posts did they make in the negotiations?
    It was the IRA that refused to use the wording the government and Irish government had put forward not the DUP.

  • Dessertspoon

    Oh right so you don’t think the video or pictures things had an impact at all then!