Although this should come as no surprise, the timing is not good for those who want to see rapid progress in the peace talks. But it appears that some IRA men have retained weapons. PA reports that the IIDC told Peter Hain and Michael McDowell last week:
“There was no indication that the quantities of arms involved were substantial. We were also told there is no suggestion these arms (purportedly kept for personal protection and area defence) have been retained with the approval of the IRA`s leadership or as part of a wider strategy to return to violence. The commission said it raised the claim with the Garda Siochana (Irish police), whose intelligence last year had indicated the IRA went to great lengths to locate and gather all the weapons, which were put beyond use”.
General de Chastelain, his American colleague Andrew Sens and Finnish Brigadier Tauno Nieminen, said: “The Garda informed us that what they regard as reliable sources in relation to the IRA and its weaponry have produced no intelligence suggesting any arms have been retained.”
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty