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Joint Statement by Reverend Harold Good and Father Alec Reid on the Decommissioning of IRA weapons, (26 September 2005)



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Text: Reverend Harold Good and Father Alec Reid ... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Joint Statement by the Independent Eyewitnesses, Reverend Harold Good and Father Alec Reid, on the Decommissioning of IRA Weapons, (26 September 2005)

 

"Fr Alec Reid and I are making this statement on the basis of our role as independent eyewitnesses of the process of IRA decommissioning, which has been carried out by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

We found ourselves in this role when a person who is intimately involved in the work for peace came to each of us, individually and separately, to ask if we would be willing to witness the process of IRA decommissioning. We both agreed to do so.

It is our understanding, that a series of consultations then took place between those who would be responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the implementation of that process.

Some time later, we were informed that we had been accepted for the role of independent eyewitnesses.

This role was to be clear and focused. It would involve watching the whole process of decommissioning, minute by minute, from beginning to end. This would enable us to testify to the reality of the decommissioning itself and to verify the truth of the report of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

Here, we would like to say that we were not appointed by the IRA to do this work.

We would wish to emphasise that our role as eyewitnesses is a completely independent one. Throughout this process, we have taken our own counsel and made our own decisions about everything we have done and will say.

We now wish to verify the truth of the statement on IRA decommissioning which has been given by General John de Chastelain in the name and with the authority of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

We are certain about the exactitude of this report because we spent many days watching the meticulous and painstaking way in which General de Chastelain, Brigadier General Tauno Nieminen and Ambassador Andrew Sens went about the task of decommissioning the huge amounts of explosives, arms and ammunition that they have just described in their statement. The experience of seeing this with our own eyes, on a minute-to-minute basis, provided us with evidence so clear and of its nature so incontrovertible that, at the end of the process, it demonstrated to us, and would have demonstrated to anyone who might have been with us, that beyond any shadow of doubt, the arms of the IRA have now been decommissioned.

In light of this, and in order to create universal confidence, we wish to assure everyone, but especially those in Northern Ireland who may yet have misgivings, that the decommissioning of the arms of the IRA is now an accomplished fact.

We also wish to assure the British and Irish governments that, in so far as they relate to the decommissioning of the arms of the IRA, the objectives of their Decommissioning Acts have now been achieved.

We hope that this development will become a benchmark for the peaceful resolution of political conflicts everywhere and that, for the people of Northern Ireland, it will herald the dawn of a new era of peace."

 


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