Some IRA men still have guns

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.”

  • Belfastwhite

    Those damn “security Sources” at work again. When are people going to wake up? Hugh Orde should resign today. If these people are walking around with guns and are not under arrest and “Security Sources” have knowledge then the buck has to stop somewhere.

  • Henry94

    01 February 2006 12:45

    The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning today said it had investigated media reports and suggestions by security sources in Northern Ireland that individuals and groups in the IRA had retained a range of arms.

    However, the head of the IICD, General John de Chastelain, and his colleagues have concluded that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the assessment they made about IRA weapons decommissioning in September remains correct.

  • Mick Fealty

    Diverging stories? Looks like another awkward fish at large. It will be interesting to see what the two governments have to say about this apparent contradiction.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Mick isn’t the only person to misread and misreport the IICD report, which given they actually investigated the claims in the media reports carried by the Star and other such outlets, should carry more weight than the ‘received’ rumours rehashed by the IMC.

    The BBC News Online report on this is a particular example of shoddy spinning, reporting as it does:

    “The IMC said it received reports that the IRA held on to some of its weapons, possibly for personal protection or area protection.

    However, the head of the body responsible for overseeing decommissioning, General John de Chastelain, said there was no indication that the “quantities of arms involved were substantial”

    The same report – which is the lead story on the News Online website at this moment – neglects to mention that this was the starting point of an investigation by the IICD who proceeded to find out whether or not these reports had any basis.

    And this is the conclusion the IICD reached after its exhaustive investigation – nothing so taxing for the IMC we fear.

    However, the head of the IICD, General John de Chastelain, and his colleagues have concluded that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the assessment they made about IRA weapons decommissioning in September remains correct.

    And….
    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.

    Let’s have decent honest to goodness reporting in future from Slugger and from the BBC…..

  • Brian Boru

    Suppose someone is a member of a paramilitary organisation. Suppose the leadership of such an organisation – Republican or Loyalist – orders the group to decommission the arms. Now, suppose one or two individuals keep some arms without the knowledge of the leadership. Should that really be considered as “the IRA/UVF/UDA holding onto guns”? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, the most heavily armed section of people in NI is by far the Unionist people.

  • topdeckomnibus

    In Kent a number of us developed concerns about firearms certificates issued by Kent Police. This concern included the men arrested in 1987 (see Pat Monteath Who Pays the Ferryman Quill Publishing). One of these paramilitaries recruited from within the Territorial Army was issued a firearms cert AFTER his arrest (Unlawful Drilling Act 1819) for two calibres of high velocity rifle, 9 mm pistol, unlimited ammo and round refill.

    Gen De Chasterlain did check his terms of reference to see if he could deploy to Kent and investigate this source of firearms to paramilitaries.

    He wrote that he was precluded from investigating members of the security forces.

    The essence of the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819 is that the activity was not authorized by Crown or Sec of State. Therefore they were not acting as members of the security forces when they allegedly deployed into Southern Ireland with alleged grandiose plans to snatch a leading figure of OIRA.

    A landowner at Birchington Kent formed his own concerns about activity at the “6th Thanet Gun Range” adjoining his land. Uzi sub machine guns. Saudis who never signed in as members of the range. Live fire and movement training, exiting vehicles whilst firing etc involving off duty members of Kent Police.

    Because of range archhitecture concerns he called in a surveyor as did the range freeholder Corpus Christi College. The surveyors agreed and the college gave way leave for the land owner to carry out safety work to the target end cliff face (the side of a former chalk quarry). This was pre notified to the gun club.

    The landowner came under fire on his JCB whilst trying to make the target end safe. One of these firers is a current armed support officer of Kent Police who allegedly has boasted of bouncing bullets off the JCB bucket.

    Kent Police have of course always refused to accept a crime complaint.

    From our experience (and I have been on the opposite side to IRA) there is no way. in the IRA position, I would give up my last gun.

    I would hold on to a gun until there was certainty of proper policing IE hold on to a gun in perpetuity.

    Gen De Chasterlain also queried why the decommissioning terms did not include declarations of sabotage as a weapons system planned at the outset by IRA (and a far more dangerous weapon than bomb or bullet)

    I certainly do not think, after our experiences in Kent, that police should both be armed and able to decide which citizens are armed.