24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 00:59

Northern Ireland decommissioning body stands down

Category: Northern Ireland

Published: 9th Feb 2010 15:49:25

The legislation which enabled the international body set up to oversee the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons in NI has expired.

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) was established by the British and Irish governments in 1997.

On Monday, the INLA, the Official IRA and a breakaway faction of the UDA said they had disposed of their arms.

The IICD will not wind up its Dublin office until the end of the month.

The IICD's job was to facilitate disarmament among those groups that had renounced violence.

It will present its final report to the two governments later this year.

In total, the commission cost about £10m to maintain during its existence.

It was led by retired Canadian general, John de Chastelain. The other commissioners were General Tauno Nieminen from Finland and American general, Andrew D Sens.

The mainstream Provisional IRA decommissioned its weapons in 2005, while the disarmament of the main loyalist groups - the UDA and Ulster Volunteer Force - only came to pass within the last nine months.

The INLA, Official IRA and breakaway South East Antrim brigade of the UDA waited until the last day of the commission's mandate - 24 hours before an inter-connected amnesty from prosecution was due to expire - to announce they had given up their weapons.

Up until 9 February, paramilitaries moving weapons could use a certificate from the IICD saying they were moving arms from one cache to another to facilitate decommissioning.

Sir George Quigley, an independent witness called in to validate the IICD's engagement with the UDA, said the commissioners had proved what could be achieved through perseverance.

"A great element of the equation was simply their patience and willingness to talk and engage with people over long periods of time," he said.

"That has paid off. This was never going to be a quick fix overnight. They stuck at it and they got their rewards. In many ways they were rewarded for their endurance."

Senior trade union official Peter Bunting, who acted as a go-between when the INLA signalled it wanted to engage with the IICD, said despite the commissioners high ranking military background they had an "everyman quality".

"Trust was also very important," he said.

They held many discussions with these groups and through those they built up a degree of trust. It was vital that everyone bought in on the basis of trust."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. Northern Ireland decommissioning body stands down [Online] (Updated 9th Feb 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/35881/Northern-Ireland-decommissioning-body-stands-down [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Actress Jodie Foster marries girlfriend

    US actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
  • Anatomy of the cost of a new drug

    The cost of drugs is in the headlines following the decision by NHS watchdog NICE that a new cancer treatment should not be funded.
  • England's regional sign language dialects 'in decline'

    The decline of some regional English dialects has been mourned for years but now sign language is being hit by the same trend. Researchers say regional variations that produced 22 different ways of signing the word "purple" are dying out.
  • 'Friendly' drone on dog leash takes off

    Drones are becoming more common in our skies, performing a variety of tasks, from taking photos to monitoring crops and potentially even delivering broadband.
  • Irish education minister proposes radical changes

    The Irish education minister has proposed a radical shake-up of the further education sector.
  • 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