28/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 06:55

PM praises Northern Ireland decommissioning moves

Category: Northern Ireland

Published: 8th Feb 2010 16:58:49

Gordon Brown has praised the work of the international decommissioning body as he announced three NI paramilitary groups have got rid of their weapons.

Two republican groups - the Irish National Liberation Army and the Official IRA disposed of their arms.

Mr Brown told the House of Commons the loyalist South East Antrim Ulster Defence Association had also done so.

The prime minister said decommissioning was "a central part of the process of moving NI from violence to peace".

"I think the house would want to record our thanks to the international commission which has now overseen decommissioning by the UDA, UVF, PIRA and now INLA and the Official IRA."

The legislation that enables the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning to carry out its work is due to expire on Tuesday.

At the moment, paramilitaries moving weapons can use a certificate from the IICD saying they are moving arms from one cache to another to facilitate decommissioning.

However, after the legislation expires any weapons found can be forensically tested.

Evidence from this could be used in future court cases and possibly help secure convictions.


Earlier, a spokesman for the republican terror group the INLA, Martin McMonagle, made the announcement of its weapons move at a press conference in Belfast on Monday morning.

"We make no apology for our part in the conflict," he said.

"We believe conditions have now changed in such a way that other options are open to revolutionaries to pursue and ultimately achieve our objectives."

He added: "We can also confirm that the INLA has disarmed through a joint facilitation group consisting of local, a national and an international organisation.

"This was done in a process in accordance with international standards," he said.

"We hope that this will further enhance the primacy of politics and that it will in time unite and advance the working class struggle in Ireland."

The facilitation group included Irish trade union leaders and an academic, who worked with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

The trade unionists confirmed they had witnessed the destruction of a substantial amount of weaponry.

In 1993, Mr McMonagle was sentenced to 23 years in jail for his part in an INLA plot to launch a bombing campaign in England. He was released early under the Good Friday Agreement.

Move welcomed

Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said General de Chastelain had confirmed to him that over the last few days he and his colleagues had completed the decommissioning of INLA arms.

"These events are further positive developments as we look to finally close the last chapter of the conflict and ensure a peaceful future for all the people of Northern Ireland," he said.

The INLA move was also welcomed by Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly, who called for "other small militarist factions" to do the same.

"There is no support for, or appetite for, armed actions within the republican community," he said.

"The INLA has recognised this by engaging with the IICD in this action."


The INLA, whose murder victims included Tory MP Airey Neave, is believed to have disposed of its arsenal in recent weeks.

A small, ruthless group which killed more than 120 people, it announced in October that it intended to pursue its aims by exclusively peaceful means.

The republican paramilitary body is believed to have been responsible for 111 murders from its formation in 1975 until its ceasefire in 1998, but it is also thought to have been involved in a number of murders since then.

In February 2009, the INLA claimed responsibility for the murder of a drug dealer in Londonderry.

It came to world prominence in 1979 with the murder of Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman Airey Neave by leaving a bomb under his car in the House of Commons car park.

It was behind one of Northern Ireland's worst atrocities when it killed 17 people in a bomb attack on the Droppin' Well pub in Ballykelly, County Londonderry, in 1982.

The group's political wing, the Irish Republican Socialist Party held a parade in Bray, County Wicklow, four months ago where it announced that the organisation had renounced violence.

The Official IRA came into existence as a result of a split in the IRA in 1969 which also saw the emergence of the Provisional IRA.

The South East Antrim UDA split off from the mainstream organisation after its so-called brigadier was expelled in 2007.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. PM praises Northern Ireland decommissioning moves [Online] (Updated 8th Feb 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/17702/PM-praises-Northern-Ireland-decommissioning-moves [Accessed 28th Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Ebola outbreak: US official says epidemic will worsen

    The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is going to get worse before it gets better, according to the top US public health official.
  • Scottish independence: Firms say 'Yes' vote would benefit economy

    More than 200 business figures have signed an open letter backing Scottish independence.
  • US Open 2014: Andy Murray faces qualifier in night match

    British number one Andy Murray and German qualifier Matthias Bachinger will take centre stage in the night session at the US Open on Friday.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • 'Deeply elitist UK locks out diversity at top'

    The UK is "deeply elitist" according to new analysis of the backgrounds of more than 4,000 business, political, media and public sector leaders.
  • Cops crewmember accidently killed by police during robbery

    A crew member on an US police reality TV show has been shot and killed after Nebraska police opened fire on a robbery suspect.