Like many things in Northern Ireland the arrangements around the decommissioning were made entirely in secret, and not simply the act itself, but who was chosen and when. That secretiveness alone is what makes it suspect in eyes of Unionist observer, argues Lindy McDowell. She ends with a typically wry but sharp perception:
Meanwhile, it is weird, is it not, to hear Gerry invoking British intelligence assessments as proof that the Provies have indeed come up with the goods. When Gerry cites the “securocrats” you know it has to be seismic.
More seismic still though is the opportunity this week’s move provides for pressure to now be piled upon the loyalists to handover their arms too. And you can forget the negotiation, Mr Hain, the behind-the-doors toadying to them. Round up the brigadiers and assorted officers commanding and hold them until the weapons are produced.
In a way that, this time round, truly is “transparent and verifiable.”