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Last Updated: Monday September 26 2005 17:03 GMT

IRA has 'destroyed' all weapons

IRA written on a wall in Northern Ireland
The IRA has destroyed all its weapons, the man in charge of getting rid of arms in Northern Ireland has said.

General John de Chastelain is in charge of the process - called decommissioning - and two senior church figures watched as the weapons were destroyed.

This is very important as it could be a big step forward in Northern Ireland having its own government again.

Unionists wanted photographs taken while the decommissioning happened, and aren't happy that they weren't.

Instead General de Chastelain, Catholic priest Father Alex Reid and ex-Methodist president Harold Good watched the weapons put beyond use.

A statement from them said they saw the weapons being destroyed on a "minute-by-minute" basis and that they were convinced "beyond any shadow of doubt, the arms of the IRA have now been decommissioned".

The general added they saw "very large quantities of arms" put beyond use that they "believe include all the arms in the IRA's possession".

Stop violence

A report has been written about the process - which took a number of days - and has been sent to both the British and Irish governments.

In July, the IRA - Irish Republican Army - said it was going to stop using violence after fighting for 30 years. They want Ireland to become one country again.

The Unionists want Northern Ireland to stay as part of the United Kingdom, separate to the Republic of Ireland.



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