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September 26, 2005

Jt Stmnt: Taoiseach & Prime Minister

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News about Ireland & the Irish

NI 09/26/05 Joint Stmnt - Taoiseach & Prime Minister
NI 09/26/05 Statement By Prime Minister On Northern Ireland
UT 09/26/05 Father Alex Reid: Pursuit Of Peace Bears Fruit
WP 09/26/05 IRA Fully Disarms, Fulfilling Vow Made In July
UT 09/26/05 Mad Dog Adair Given Restraining Order
UT 09/26/05 Loyalists Sceptical
BB 09/26/05 IRA 'Moved Slowly' To Disarmament
GU 09/26/05 Timeline: Northern Ireland


Monday 26th September 2005

Joint Statement on Decommissioning by the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister

The two Governments have today received a report from the
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning

The report states that the IICD has overseen a further and
final major programme of arms decommissioning by the IRA.
It is the IICD's assessment, based on the information
available to it and the two Governments, that the IRA has
now placed all of its arms completely and verifiably beyond

We warmly welcome this landmark development. Having sought
to achieve this outcome for so many years, its significance
now needs to be acknowledged and recognised. It is the
clearest signal ever that the IRA's armed campaign is over.

We also welcome the presence of clergymen from the
Protestant and Catholic communities as independent
witnesses to the decommissioning process. Their presence
should enhance public confidence.

Although the completion of IRA decommissioning removes a
dangerous threat and offers a welcome and important
opportunity for progress, we are today most of all
conscious of the victims of the IRA's protracted campaign
and their families. They remain central to our thoughts
and prayers. The tragic and unnecessary loss of life and
terrible injuries suffered over an extended period can
never be forgotten.

In our joint statement of 28 July, we said that the IRA's
words must be borne out by actions. Today's IICD report
represents a major step forward in this regard.

We look forward to the reports, scheduled for October and
January, of the Independent Monitoring Commission, which
will address the question of paramilitary and criminal

We strongly believe that the interests of everyone in
Northern Ireland and throughout these islands are best
served by the earliest practicable restoration of the
devolved institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. We
recognise that trust and confidence will take time to
rebuild but we hope that today's developments will provide
a vital stimulus. For their part the Governments will do
everything we can to facilitate progress.

The completion of IRA decommissioning makes it all the more
urgent that loyalist paramilitary activity be brought to an
end and that all loyalist arms be decommissioned.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the
work of General de Chastelain and his colleagues on the
IICD. They have made an invaluable contribution to the
process of building and assuring peace. We are deeply
indebted to them for the professional and painstaking
manner in which they have carried out this part of their


Statement By The Prime Minister On Northern Ireland

I warmly welcome today's statement by General de Chastelain
on IRA decommissioning and the separate statement by the
independent witnesses.

This is an important development in the peace process and
one we have all been waiting for, for a long time.

The Government is very grateful to General John de
Chastelain and his colleagues Andy Sens and Tauno Nieminen
for their authoritative and effective oversight of this

I particularly welcome General de Chastelain's confirmation
that IRA decommissioning is complete and that the amount of
arms and material decommissioned by the IRA is consistent
with the assessments provided by the security services of
the two governments last year.

Successive British governments have sought final and
complete decommissioning by the IRA for over ten years.
Failure to deliver it had become a major impediment to
moving forward the peace process. Today it is finally
accomplished. And we have made an important step in the
transition from conflict to peace in Northern Ireland.

If the IMC confirm that all other activity has ceased then
that transition, as far as the IRA are concerned, will be

While recognising the great significance of today's
announcement we must always be mindful of the victims of
violence whose families continue to live with their pain.
The true importance of today is that these weapons can
never again be used to inflict suffering and create more

The involvement of representatives of the Protestant and
Catholic faiths as independent witnesses in the process is
new and significant and should give added confidence to
both communities that IRA decommissioning is both complete
and permanent.

A demand first made over a decade ago has now been met.
People may complain that it has taken too long to deliver,
and some may still be sceptical about republican
intentions, but I ask that everyone pauses and listens to
the independent voice of General de Chastelain, who has in
the past not been afraid to voice his frustration with the
failure to make progress, and the voices of the two
independent witnesses, when they confirm that IRA
decommissioning has now successfully completed and
independently verified. We call on all other parliamentary
groups now to cooperate with IICD on the immediate
destruction of their weapons.

I recognize that after their disappointments of the past
confidence will not be re-built overnight. But that should
not blind us to the true significance of the progress now
being made to implement the commitments made by the IRA in
July and to remove a key obstacle to progress. The British
government will continue to implement its obligations under
the Belfast Agreement and the Joint Declaration. In time we
believe this will lead to the restoration of devolved
government and to a more peaceful future for Northern

26 September 2005


Pursuit Of Peace Bears Fruit

Catholic priest Father Alex Reid has long been the peace-
broker in the background of Northern Ireland.

By:Press Association

Today he was called out of the shadows to pronounce on
whether the IRA did what it said it had with its arsenal of

A long-time confidant of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams,
he is one of the two churchmen called in to witness

A member of the Redemptorist Clonard Monastery on Belfast`s
Falls Road, Fr Reid has been closely linked with the peace
process for more than two decades.

It was he who arranged mould-breaking talks between Mr
Adams and the then SDLP leader John Hume which led to a
common nationalist approach and, in time, led to the 1993
Downing Street Declaration.

In it, the British government acknowledged the right of the
people of Ireland, north and south, to freely decide if
they wanted a united Ireland.

The declaration led on to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998
in which the right of Northern Ireland to remain part of
the UK while the majority wished was enshrined in law and
the Irish Government dropped its claim over the six
counties of Northern Ireland.

It was also Fr Reid to whom the IRA turned when they were
under pressure to reveal where the "disappeared" - those
murdered by the IRA and secretly buried - had been hidden.

They gave him locations, which he passed on to the
authorities in the North and South.

While many bodies remain missing, it was another example of
Fr Reid`s role as a conduit between the terrorist group and
the authorities.

A man trusted and respected by both, his words on exactly
what he saw being put beyond use will carry a lot of


IRA Fully Disarms, Fulfilling Vow Made In July

By Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 26, 2005; 10:42 AM

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Sept. 26 -- The Irish Republican
Army has scrapped its vast arsenal of guns and explosives
in a landmark step toward ending more than three decades of
political and religious violence in Northern Ireland,
according to the independent weapons inspection commission
that witnessed the disarmament process.

The weapons inspectors reported their findings Monday to
the British and Irish governments.

"We have observed and verified events to put beyond use
very large quantities of arms which we believe include all
the arms in the IRA's possession," they reported.

"The IRA's decision on July 28th to formally end its armed
campaign has changed the political landscape in Ireland
forever," said Martin McGuinness, a senior member of Sinn
Fein, the IRA's political wing in a statement issued Sunday
night. He called it "the final chapter on the issue of IRA
arms. I believe that Ireland stands on the cusp of a truly
historic advance, and I hope that people across the island
will respond positively in the time ahead."

The disarmament announcement, made at a news conference
Monday given by John de Chastelain, the retired Canadian
general who heads the weapons inspection commission, is a
historic breakthrough in the conflict between majority
Protestants and minority Catholics that has killed more
than 3,600 people since 1969. The British and Irish
governments hailed as momentous the IRA's July announcement
that it would disarm, but any such announcement is unlikely
to completely convince the province's majority Protestant
community that peace is at hand.

The disarmament, which officials said took place at secret
locations in the Republic of Ireland, was also witnessed by
two members of the clergy: the Rev. Harold Good, a former
president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the Rev.
Alex Reid, a Catholic priest.

The Protestant side has cited the IRA's failure to disarm
as the main obstacle to full implementation of the landmark
1998 Good Friday peace accords. British and Irish
government officials hope that this step will enable a
power-sharing government to be reestablished in Belfast,
the Northern Ireland capital.

Protestant leaders, particularly the Rev. Ian Paisley of
the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), have expressed deep
skepticism about the IRA's intentions. They have also
harshly criticized British Prime Minister Tony Blair for
responding to the IRA's promise to disarm by dismantling
some British military posts in the province and ordering
sharp cuts in troop strength.

"It would be naive to take the IRA at its word," Ian
Paisley Jr., a top official of the party headed by his
father, said in a recent interview. The DUP has distanced
itself from negotiations to implement the Good Friday
accords, which outlined a power-sharing plan for the
troubled province. Paisley said that no matter how many
weapons the IRA gave up, it could still have more hidden or

McGuinness, in his statement, said Monday's announcement
was "about more than arms."

"It is about the reviving the peace process, it is about
the future of Ireland," he said. "And this places an
enormous responsibility on the British and Irish
governments to finally implement the Good Friday agreement
in all its aspects on issues like equality, human rights,
policing, demilitarization and northern representation. It
will also place a huge responsibility on the leadership of
the DUP to reengage in the political process."

On Saturday, Sinn Fein's president, Gerry Adams, told
thousands of supporters in Dublin, the Irish capital, that
IRA disarmament would have "a huge impact" on peace

A senior Democratic Unionist, Jeffrey Donaldson, said the
IRA's apparent refusal to provide photos or to use a
Protestant minister nominated by his party as a witness
meant that many Protestants would not fully believe the IRA
moves, the Associated Press reported.

"I don't think we're going to get that level of
transparency tomorrow, and I think that's most
unfortunate," Donaldson said.

The IRA, which draws its support from among the province's
Catholic minority, has waged a determined war of bombings
and attacks, including in London and other British cities,
in an attempt to rid Northern Ireland of British rule.
Protestant loyalists, who support British rule, also formed
paramilitary groups that have fought against the IRA. Many
in Northern Ireland fear that extremist splinter groups on
both sides will continue the violence and hinder the peace

Although Northern Ireland has become less violent in recent
years, the IRA has been embroiled in controversies over a
bank robbery and other criminal activity by its members.
The killing earlier this year of Robert McCartney, a
Catholic supporter of Sinn Fein, caused international
uproar when his family broke the IRA's traditional code of
silence and complained publicly about the group's thuggery.

In recent months, Belfast has been racked by spasms of
violence in the Protestant community, where many people
complain bitterly that they have been abandoned by the
British government. At least five people have been killed
in the past two months in battles between Protestant
paramilitary groups. At least two more officers were
injured this weekend.


Ex-Terror Chief Given Restraining Order

A court imposed a restraining order today against former
Ulster Defence Association brigadier Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair
after he pleaded guilty to harassment.

Adair, 41, and William Woods, 37, admitted harassing two
other former members of their gang between April and August
of this year.

The court heard how they drove past the house where Stephen
McQuaid and his partner, Kerry Thompson, lived with their
three young children, shouting insults and threatening

Adair, Woods, Mr McQuaid and Miss Thompson left Northern
Ireland for Bolton after a UDA internal feud, Bolton
Magistrates` Court heard.

But after they arrived, the feuding continued.

Stephen Sargent, prosecuting, said Mr McQuaid and Miss
Thompson had wanted to move on with their lives while Adair
and Woods wanted to keep the "Belfast ethos".

He said: "It seems to me that these people fell into two
categories. There were those who, in a different
environment, have seized the opportunity to start a new
life and put the past behind them, and there are those who
are trying to keep to the ethos that the others left behind
in Belfast, and that has led to friction.

"It has led to the harassment of those who want to distance
themselves from their former life."

Police warned Adair, of Chorley New Road, Bolton, and
Woods, of Halliwell Road, Bolton, on April 29 after Miss
Thompson reported them for driving down her street,
grinning falsely at her.

She was pushing her baby in a buggy along the road when she
saw Adair driving very slowly. She became "extremely
concerned" because she feared he might have discovered
where she lived.

On August 15, Mr McQuaid was walking into a launderette in
Halliwell Road with his six-year-old child when he saw
Woods standing on the other side of the road.

Wood shouted: "Yo, ******* ********" and followed him into
the launderette where he punched him in the back of the

Later that day, Adair and Woods returned to their victims`
home, where they directed further abuse at Mr McQuaid.

Woods said: "Yo fatty, you are going to get it again."

Mr McQuaid grabbed a cricket bat but an altercation was
avoided when police arrived.

The following day, Mr McQuaid and Miss Thompson`s children
were playing in front of their house when Adair, in his
black Vauxhall Astra, drove Woods and a gang of other men
along the street.

Woods and another man, Wayne Downey, ran up to the house
and started shouting abuse at Mr McQuaid. Woods was heard
to say: "Come out now and we will ******* kill you."

Andrew Costello, defending, claimed these were just idle
threats and that Mr McQuaid and Miss Thompson had played
their part in the feud.

He said abusive messages about Woods and Adair had been
posted on the internet.

Mr Costello told the court: "They, rightly or wrongly,
believed that the aggrieved parties and their associates
had knowledge of that and it`s for that reason that they
sought to remonstrate with them."

He claimed Woods and Adair also wanted a new life in Bolton
and that Adair had moved there to spend more time with his

He added: "They are here to try and put these things behind
them. His only objective in coming to Bolton is coming to
spend quality time with his family that has been lacking in
the past."

Sentencing Adair and Woods to time already served and
imposing the restraining orders, Magistrate Malcolm Bristow
said he recognised that both parties were involved in the

He said: "We recognise that there has been goading of both
parties. You did take the law into your own hands and try
and resolve the situation when you could have telephoned
the police and informed them."

Both men were ordered to pay £150 costs.


Loyalists Sceptical

No drinks were on the house in true blue Sandy Row today.

The scale of IRA disarmament may have gone down well in
London, Dublin and Washington, but in this small corner of
the United Kingdom, sceptical loyalists enjoying an early
afternoon pint were far from impressed.

The prevailing mood in the Royal Bar, one of Belfast`s
landmark pubs, just opposite from where a new Glasgow
Rangers Supporters club is under construction, did not
resonate with the rebuilding process which republicans
claimed was underway after giving up their weapons of war.

Jim Stout, enjoying a glass of lager, said: "How can
anybody expect us to trust the word of the IRA when they
have murdered and bombed us for 30 years?"

Friends at the same rectangular table shook their heads in
agreement as he also predicted a grim future on the dreary
streets outside.

Mr Stout warned: "There is going to be a reversal of roles.

"We (Protestants) are going to turn into republicans and
become terrorists instead of freedom fighters.

"We always classed ourselves as defenders of Ulster but we
are going to have to change that."

Photographic evidence he said, would have been more
reassuring than the word and assessment of General de

"This is a working class war so working class people need
to know if it is true or if it is not true," the 35-year-
old added.

Mr Stout claimed dissident republicans remained a genuine

He asked: "What about the Continuity IRA, the Irish
National Liberation Army and the Real IRA?

"Are they going to hand over their guns as well?"

Frank Brown, 52, ordered the next round as he dismissed the
prospect of loyalist terror groups scrapping their

He said: "As far as loyalist decommissioning goes - no way.

"There is too much of a threat from those other republican

"And how will the IRA control the dissidents if they have
no weapons?"

A short distance from the bar, Martha Acheson took a break
from serving customers in Just William`s Cafe.

The DUP voter`s mood matched the grey skies and light rain

Mrs Acheson, 69, said: "They will never give up their
weapons. It is lot of rubbish.

"The Protestant people do not trust them."

She also questioned why the Government has not asked the
IRA to return the £26.5m stolen from the Northern Bank last

The pensioner added: "In my opinion that money was to buy
arms and they are still doing their bad deeds."

An imposing mural, featuring a masked gunman, greets
visitors to the street with the following words: "You are
now entering Loyalist Sandy Row, heartland of the South
Belfast Ulster Freedom Fighters."

As a barometer of public opinion it paints an accurate
picture of how unionists across the province will greet the
ICD statement.

A senior figure in the Ulster Political Research Group said
the IRA move was groundbreaking but forecast it would not
be taken at face value.

The source said: "The face that they have decommissioned
anything is a massive development. There is no doubt about

"But they are always going to have enough to defend

"They are never going to be caught with their trousers down
again the way they were in the Falls Road 30 years ago.

"There is always going to be problems with criminality and
drug dealers and they will have to defend their

On the scale of the announcement, the source said: "It is
the most significant gesture ever but it brings Ian Paisley
a step closer to shaking hands with Gerry Adams and Martin
McGuinness on the steps of Stormont.

"Whether he is prepared to accept that or whether he will
delay it as long as possible remains to be seen.

"If we are going to have a future then that is where it has
got to start. Once that handshake takes place it is a whole
new scenario."

Recent events, such as the release of the Shankill bomber
Sean Kelly and the rapidity of demilitarisation - ahead of
any IRA announcement - were widely viewed by unionists as a
series of concessions to republicans, the UPRG official

And he said it was vital the Government and the Police
Service of Northern Ireland pay heed to the views and
concerns of the unionist community.

On the street, which is lined with red, white and blue
bunting, Dawn Smith felt betrayed by the Government.

The 41-year-old said: "Everything republicans have asked
for - Tony Blair has bent over backwards to accommodate

"He has forgotten about the Protestant people.

"This is probably a step forward in the peace process in
the Government`s eyes but I don`t think there will ever be

Asked how she felt about the prospect of a united Ireland,
Mrs Smith replied: "Sick".


IRA 'Moved Slowly' To Disarmament

By Brian Rowan
BBC Northern Ireland security editor

For years the writing on a Belfast wall read: "NOT A BULLET

It was the republican way of saying "no" to getting rid of
its weapons and explosives.

But, in a process designed to end conflict, this position
was never tenable.

The political business of power-sharing could only be
sustained if unionists were convinced that the threat of
the IRA's gun was gone, and gone for good.

So, slowly, the IRA has moved to this position, not at a
pace dictated by the British government or the unionists,
but in its own time.

In July, the leadership of the republican organisation
ordered an end to its armed campaign, and the follow-up to
that statement has been Monday's announcement that the
decommissioning process has been completed.

The Sinn Fein leaders - Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness -
have taken the IRA to this new position without there being
a major split in the organisation.

That has been the major republican achievement - and the
internal IRA priority - throughout this process.

The first IRA meeting with General de Chastelain's
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
(IICD) was in December 1999.

So, there were new watching eyes - and we now wait for how
their commentary on events impacts on a listening and
watching public

Then, in October 2001, the first IRA arms were put "beyond

Before Monday's statement, there had been two other acts in
April 2002 and October 2003.

It has been a process conducted in a dark corner. The IRA
has done it in its own way, resisting unionist demands for
video and photographs.

What was different this time was the extent of
decommissioning and the fact that the process was seen not
just by General de Chastelain and his commission colleagues
Andrew Sens and Tauno Nieminen.

It was also seen by church witnesses - Catholic priest
Father Alex Reid and former Methodist Church president, the
Reverend Harold Good.

So, there were new watching eyes - and we now wait for how
their commentary on events impacts on a listening and
watching public.

The DUP had wanted the former moderator of the Presbyterian
Church, David McGaughey, as a witness but the IRA decided

'Political alternative'

The bulk of the IRA's weaponry was Libyan supplied. Semtex
explosives, surface-to-air missiles, rocket launchers,
machine-guns, rifles and handguns - tools of war smuggled
into Ireland in the 1980s.

But a string of chief constables in Northern Ireland - Sir
Hugh Annesley, Sir Ronnie Flanagan and Sir Hugh Orde - have
acknowledged that the biggest threat the IRA poses is its
"engineering knowledge" - something that cannot be

Within its ranks, the republican organisation has always
had men and women capable of manufacturing a range of
improvised weaponry, including bombs, mortars, grenades and

That know-how has always been there.

Yes, the process that General de Chastelain has overseen
may well have "put beyond use" those Libyan-supplied and
other weapons mentioned earlier, but it has not removed the
IRA's capacity for "war".

The political alternative to "armed struggle" argued by
Adams and accepted by the IRA leadership now has to flower.

That means Ian Paisley's DUP doing political business with
Sinn Fein.

It means the demilitarisation of Northern Ireland society,
and it means finding a system of policing that republicans
will be prepared to endorse.

The past few weeks have produced IRA words and actions
unprecedented in this current republican campaign.

Monday's statement signed by the IRA's nom de plume, P
O'Neill, should be the last of that campaign, and that is
an indication of how things have changed in this long and
slow peace process.

The focus will now switch to the loyalist organisations. In
recent months, the guns of the Ulster Volunteer Force and
the Ulster Defence Association have been heard.

And the challenge now for the leaderships of those groups
is to match what the IRA has done.

The sequence of statements from the IICD, the church
witnesses and the IRA tell a story of very significant
progress, but there is more work for de Chastelain and his

There are more guns in Northern Ireland.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/26 13:47:26 GMT


Timeline: Northern Ireland

Sean Clarke looks back over the key moments in the history
of the province

Monday September 26, 2005


Partition: Six counties in the north of the island opt to
stay in the United Kingdom when the rest of Ireland becomes
independent and later a republic. Many of the inhabitants
are descended from Protestant settlers brought in by James
I in the 17th century, although there is still a large
Catholic minority, just as there continues to be a
significant Protestant minority in the Republic.


The civil rights movement: Catholics complain of unfair
treatment at the hands of a largely Protestant political
establishment, saying among other things that electoral
boundaries are gerrymandered to ensure Protestant
majorities. On October 5, a civil rights march is stopped
by the RUC. Rioting follows and the province's government
agrees to undertake reforms.


The battle of the Bogside: A loyalist parade passing
through the nationalist Bogside area of Derry on August 12
sparks two days of rioting. As sporadic violence spreads
across the province, troops are called in. At first they
are welcomed by the Catholic community, but sectarian
violence continues. The Provisional IRA becomes more
active, and the army increasingly concentrates on fighting

1971 - 1975

Internment: Nearly 2,000 people are arrested and held
without trial on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.


Bloody Sunday: A protest against internment in Derry on
January 30 is fired upon by British troops. Thirteen people
are shot dead and another dies later. Troops say they were
fired upon first.


Direct rule: Edward Heath suspends the Northern Ireland
parliament on March 24 and introduces direct rule from

1973 - 1974

Talks to re-establish devolved government result in a
"Council of Ireland" reflecting the views of both the
Republic and the north. Protestants call a strike that in
effect kills the deal off.

1970s - 1990s

Paramilitary groups on both sides continue to commit
terrorist atrocities, including bombing bars and discos,
killing politicians and administering "punishment beatings"
and kneecappings to members of their own communities.


As momentum towards a negotiated settlement builds, it
becomes apparent that the British government has been in
secret contact with the IRA for years. In a Downing Street
statement on December 15, the British prime minister, John
Major, and the Irish taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, agree in
principle on talks on the future of Northern Ireland. Any
party that "renounces violence" is invited to take part,
opening the way for Sinn Féin if it can prove the IRA is
committed to giving up its weapons.


The IRA announces a ceasefire in August and Loyalist groups
follow suit in October. The first formal talks between the
British government and Sinn Féin begin in December.


IRA declares an end to its ceasefire at about 7am on
February 9, after the Major government insists that
decommissioning - the surrender or destruction of weapons
by paramilitary groups - occur as a precondition of talks.
A few moments later the IRA explodes a bomb at Canary
Wharf, killing two people and causing millions of pounds
worth of damage.


The IRA announces a second ceasefire in July. Tony Blair,
now British prime minister, announces that decommissioning
will take place in parallel with talks from September.
Talks begin at Stormont, but it takes until October 7 to
convince the unionists to sit down at the table with Sinn
Féin. The talks are hampered by paramilitary killings on
both sides. At one point the Ulster Democratic party walks
out rather than be suspended for its links to the Ulster
Freedom Fighters, at another Sinn Féin is suspended for a
month, but talks continue until April 1998.


US senator George Mitchell sets a deadline of April 9 for
the parties to reach an agreement. Discussion continues
through the night of April 9, Maundy Thursday, and finally
result in the Good Friday Agreement on April 10. The deal
includes the restoration of a devolved assembly at Stormont
Castle, and a role for the Republic of Ireland in the
affairs of the north. A referendum later approves the deal.

On August 15, a car bomb kills 29 people in Omagh, County
Tyrone. The Real IRA, a breakaway group, claims


The devolved assembly is suspended by Peter Mandelson, the
Northern Ireland secretary, on February 11 when the IRA
refuses to prove its commitment to decommissioning. The
assembly is restored in May, when the IRA agrees to puts
its weapons "verifiably beyond use".


David Trimble, the first minister and leader of the Ulster
Unionist party, resigns on July 1 over lack of progress on
the arms issue. In the following months, General John de
Chastelain, the head of the body set up to oversee arms
decommissioning, says the IRA has given him a disarmament
plan. This fails to convince the unionists, and John Reid,
the new Northern Ireland secretary, twice suspends the
assembly to give time for talks. By October, after the
September 11 attacks, General de Chastelain says he has
seen decommissioning taking place. The institutions are
restored in November.


Sinn Féin's offices at Stormont are raided by police who
suspect they are being used by the IRA to spy on the
government. Ten days later, devolution is again suspended.


Attempts in December to reconcile Sinn Féin and the DUP
fail when the unionists again refuse to accept the lack of
transparency in the IRA's commitment to disarm.

On December 21, more than £26m is stolen from a bank in
Belfast city centre. The IRA is suspected.


Robert McCartney, a former bouncer, is killed outside a bar
in Belfast city centre on January 30. His family blames the
IRA, which later announces that it has suspended some of
its members.

On April 6, the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, challenges
the IRA to "fully embrace" democratic means and give up its

On July 28, the IRA makes a detailed statement in which it
declares its armed campaign over. It also promises to
resume disarmament and pursue its aims through politics.

On September 26, decommissioning chief John de Chastelain
announces inspectors' confirmation that all the IRA's
weapons have been put beyond use. The IRA also confirms
that all its weapons have been taken out of action.

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