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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 September 2006, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Confidence 'IRA arms have gone'
Rev Harold Good
Rev Harold Good said there was confidence in decommissioning
There is growing confidence the IRA has decommissioned, one of the witnesses to the republican paramilitary group putting its "arms beyond use" has said.

In September 2005 the weapons monitoring body said the IRA had decommissioned all its weapons.

Former Methodist president Rev Harold Good, one of two church witnesses, said no IRA bullets had been fired since.

"There is growing confidence in what we declared to be a fact, even by those who expressed misgivings," he said.

He and Catholic priest Fr Alec Reid verified the statement on IRA decommissioning given by General John de Chastelain, head of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

In an article for BBC News Online and the Sunday Life newspaper Rev Good said he was aware at the time of those who had "genuine doubts as well as those who, for their own predictable and political reasons, sought to undermine the validity of our statement".

Referring to a Belfast Telegraph report which featured comments from the loyalist paramilitary group the UVF, he said loyalists accepted the IRA was no longer a threat.

"From these comments, it would appear that the leadership of this loyalist organisation will put no obstacle in the way of a deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein," he said.

"A far cry from the dark days of 1974 and the Ulster Workers' Strike."

He said IRA decommissioning removed "a giant-sized road block" but that the issue of policing remained to be resolved and called for compromise on the issue.


SEE ALSO
A year after IRA arms farewell
24 Sep 06 |  Northern Ireland

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