Northern Ireland Bishops welcome IRA decommissioning

The Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland last night issued a statement welcoming the announcement of complete weapons decommissioning by the IRA.

"We welcome the confirmation by the IICD and the two independent Church witnesses that the IRA has honoured the commitments set out in its statement of 28th July 2005," said the bishops at their meeting in Maynooth. "This represents an immensely significant confidence-building measure in favour of a more peaceful and stable society in Northern Ireland. Today's announcement is a vindication of the efforts undertaken by all those who have, over the years, courageously worked to replace violence with dialogue."

The Irish Times reported yesterday that the British and Irish Governments were to be formally notified yesterday that General de Chastelain had overseen the IRA putting beyond use its huge stockpiles of Kalashnikovs, Semtex explosives, mortars, machine guns and other weaponry.

The bishops congratulated General John de Chastelain and his colleagues for their professionalism, thoroughness and patience.

We wish also to commend the judgement and integrity of Rev. Harold Good and Fr Alex Reid, two men who have, for many years, consistently and generously committed themselves to the resolution of conflict in our society. The clergyman and the priest also acted as witnesses.

"We hope that all who exercise leadership will continue to affirm the political process as the means to resolve any remaining issues in the search for peace. We call on all other paramilitary groups to affirm their commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.

"While we acknowledge today's long awaited achievement, we are mindful of all those who have suffered as a result of violence, and we keep them in our prayers."

Bishops' welcome IICD announcement on IRA decommissioning (Catholic Communications Ireland 26/9/05)

Irish Primate's optimism at IRA ceasefire move (CathNews 29/7/05)

Full disarmament by IRA to be confirmed today (Irish Times 26/9/05)
Blair hails IRA 'decommissioning' (BBC 26/9/05)
IRA says armed campaign is over (bbc 28/7/05)

27 Sep 2005