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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
IRA 'has destroyed all its arms'
Bullets
The arms body said IRA decommissioning was now complete
The IRA has put all of its weapons beyond use, the head of the arms decommissioning body has said.

General John de Chastelain made the announcement at a news conference accompanied by the two churchmen who witnessed the process.

He said the job of IRA disarmament was now complete. However, unionists are unhappy there has been no photographic evidence of decommissioning.

The IRA announced an end to its armed campaign in July.

The republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

General de Chastelain's report confirming that IRA decommissioning had been completed was given to the British and Irish governments earlier on Monday.

I think republicans will be saying today that the onus is now very clearly on the shoulders of the DUP and both governments
Alex Maskey
Sinn Fein

The churchmen who witnessed the process were Catholic priest Father Alex Reid and ex-Methodist president Harold Good.

General de Chastelain, Andrew Sens and Tauno Nieminen - the commissioners of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning - have been in Ireland overseeing the latest round of decommissioning since the beginning of September.

Unionists earlier reacted with scepticism to the report.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds said decommissioning had to be about building and instilling confidence in the unionist community.

It was "absolutely vital" to have photographic evidence of decommissioning, he told BBC News.

Former Methodist president Rev Harold Good was a witness
Former Methodist president Rev Harold Good was a witness

"That has now gone and it is going to be a lot harder, a lot more difficult and a lot more challenging to get people to accept that what was agreed last December has been set aside and now somehow we are asked to proceed as if that didn't matter."

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said General de Chastelain's report had needed to be unambiguous.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the British and Irish governments must now move ahead with implementing the Good Friday Agreement.

"Trust has been damaged by the IRA's failure to decommission before now and Sinn Fein's arguments that the Agreement didn't even require it," he said.

Fr Alex Reid helped broker first IRA ceasefire
Fr Alex Reid helped broker first IRA ceasefire

"But the fact is that now it has happened and the evidence is there - if General de Chastelain's statement is clear and supporting evidence is clear - then we can take it to the full."

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said it was a "historic day, not only for republicans but for everyone else in society".

"I think republicans will be saying today that the onus is now very clearly on the shoulders of the DUP and both governments," he said.




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