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IRA reopens arms dump for inspection

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST — The IRA issued two statements last week in a bid to reassure unionists of its good faith in dealing with concerns over decommissioning.

A senior republican source told the Irish Echo that the two IRA statements had only been issued after intense discussions. With grassroots republicans angry at Britain’s failure to live up to its commitments on policing and demilitarization, it’s understood feelings within the IRA are running high and there is no prospect of progress on weapons decommissioning in the short term.

Unionists were dissatisfied with both statements, saying they added nothing to what was already on offer, and that allowing IRA arms dumps to be inspected was not actual decommissioning.

Of the two IRA statements, choreographed to time with the Ulster Unionist Council meeting, one said the IRA would re-enter into discussions with the Decommissioning Body and the other announced a second re-examination of its arms dumps by the two independent inspectors.

The first statement came on Wednesday, the second the following day.

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The first statement said the IRA would "honor all commitments entered into by us and to underpin the peace process," despite the fact that the "British government has thus far not honored its undertakings." It further said, "IRA leadership has decided that the re-inspection of a number of arms dumps will be repeated to confirm that our weapons remain secure.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern welcomed the statement, calling it "encouraging and positive." Britain’s Northern secretary, Peter Mandelson, said he looked forward to receiving a report from the two arms inspectors.

The second IRA statement confirmed that the arms dumps had been reinspected and said the "initiative represents clear and irrefutable evidence of the IRA’s commitment to a just and equitable peace settlement."

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