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November 28, 2004

News 11/28/04 - Disarmament Report Crucial

News about Ireland & the Irish

SM 11/28/04 Disarmament Report Crucial Link In Stormont Deal
UT 11/28/04 Shooting At Portadown House


Disarmament Report Crucial Link In Stormont Deal

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

The head of Northern Ireland's independent disarmament body General
John de Chastelain will have a key role to play in the rolling out
of any deal to revive power sharing, it emerged tonight.

A source close to knife-edge talks to revive the Stormont Assembly
outlined how a deal would unfold if it is struck this week between
the Reverend Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein.

As Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Mitchel McLaughlin hinted a
deal was close, the source stressed General de Chastelain's report
on IRA disarmament would be critical to the deal.

"At this stage, we're getting more hopeful that a deal can be
struck but we're still not certain," the source said.

"There's a possibility that the deadline people have talked about
of Tuesday could slip a day or two, as parties are still trying to
achieve clarity on some aspects of the deal.

"The issue of weapons is one of those areas." If a deal is struck
it would unfold in a different way to any agreement in Northern
Ireland before, the source said.

"The IRA would speak first, followed by a statement from Sinn Fein,
a statement from both governments, a statement from the DUP and
then we would hear from General John de Chastelain and the
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

"You would be looking at the Assembly going into shadow mode, with
the power sharing executive and devolution returning probably in

"De Chastelain's statement will be a critical element in all this,
given the importance being attached to decommissioning."

When efforts to revive power sharing stumbled in October last year,
there was criticism of the way General John de Chastelain's
contribution was handled.

David Trimble's Ulster Unionists halted the sequence of events
because they were dissatisfied that General de Chastelain could not
go into specifics at a Hillsborough Castle press conference about
the act of decommissioning he had just witnessed.

In a speech to colleagues in North Antrim last night, DUP leader
the Reverend Ian Paisley stressed the importance to his party of
visible IRA disarmament.

The DUP, who will meet General de Chastelain in Belfast tomorrow,
has been stressing in talks with the British and Irish governments
that a published photograph would satisfy unionists decommissioning
has occurred.

The North Antrim MP said: "On the vital matter of the
decommissioning of the IRA's illegal arms I said at the Leeds
Castle talks in September seeing is believing. Unionists will not
settle for any disingenuous and valueless decommissioning act.

The DUP leader also warned both governments that if the agreement
did not meet unionist expectations of a fair deal, he would walk

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams today said that despite the
scepticism of most nationalists, he believed the DUP would
eventually strike a deal with his party.

But the West Belfast MP insisted any move on weapons was a matter
for the IRA and General John de Chastelain to work out.

"The reality is under the Good Friday Agreement there is a
commission," he told the BBC's Breakfast with Frost programme.

"That commission is responsible for verifying and overseeing the
putting of arms beyond use or the decommissioning of arms.

"The IRA is the only organisation – and this has caused huge
difficulty for many republicans and nationalists – to have actually
engaged with that international, independent decommissioning body.

"Why can't this be held up as the way forward? That is essentially
part of the agreement."


Shooting At Portadown House

A number of people have escaped injury after shots were fired at a
house in Portadown's Garvaghy Road area.

By:UTV and Press Association

At least one round of shots struck the living room window of the
property, during the incident at around 4am this morning.

It is understood 13 people were inside the living room at the time.

Police investigating the incident do not believe the incident was
racially motivated or sectarian.

The incident was condemned by nationalist SDLP Assembly member
Dolores Kelly.

"Details surrounding this incident are still a bit sketchy but no
matter what the motive for such action, it is completely wrong and
terrifying for all concerned," the Upper Bann MLA said.

"To open fire at a house like this is just so irresponsible and
very frightening for the 13 people in the house and people in
neighbouring houses.

"Thankfully no-one was injured in this incident and it is my hope
that this is the last of this type of mindless behaviour."

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