Ireland    BISHOP OFFERS TO RECEIVE WEAPONS
The Catholic Bishop of Derry, Dr Seamus Hegarty, has offered to personally accept arms from the IRA in an attempt to end the deadlock over decommissioning.
   In a statement published in the Belfast based Irish News newspaper, the bishop has said that he was ready to act as a guarantor and supervisor for the safekeeping of a quantity of weapons.
   Bishop Hegarty says he has taken the initiative "to allow time and space for the political process to develop".
   In his statement Bishop Hegarty says he is making the offer because he can see no other acceptable alternative.
   Acting with the knowledge of the Catholic Primate, Archbishop Sean Brady, Dr Hegarty says he is willing to act as guarantor for the safekeeping of a quantity of weapons for a 12 month period, on the clear understanding that they would be put beyond use by the international decommissioning body. He stresses that it was a stand-alone offer which was not easily made.
   The bishop says he will not enter into the political negotiations on the details or substance of the initiative.
   
BBC 10/2/00

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