Northern Ireland

List of decommissioned weapons not published by IICD

Guns and ammunition
Image caption No list of decommissioned weapons has been published

The body which oversaw paramilitary decommissioning in Northern Ireland will not publish an inventory of what arms have been destroyed.

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) issued its final report on Monday.

However, it did not provide the British and Irish governments with a list of weapons.

First Minister Peter Robinson criticised the move saying people would want to see what the IICD had achieved.

"The public has a right to know what has been achieved and I would urge the secretary of state to ensure the inventory, which should have been passed to our government and the government of the Irish Republic, is published," he said.

"Only a week or so ago we witnessed guns being used on the streets of Northern Ireland.

"People will be naturally nervous that such arms are still in circulation and it is up to the government to justify their decision to abolish the body responsible for dealing with these issues."

Secretary of State Owen Paterson said the IICD had made arrangements for records of decommissioned arms to be retained by the US State Department.

"The commissioners say in their final report that providing details now of what paramilitary arms have been put beyond use, 'could, in our opinion, encourage attacks on those groups which have taken risks for peace'.

"This is true of both loyalists and Republican paramilitary groups," Mr Paterson said.

"We would not wish, inadvertently, to discourage future decommissioning events by groups that are actively engaged today, nor to deter groups that have decommissioned their arms from handing over any arms that may subsequently come to light".

In its report, the IICD said it had examined the possibility of opening discussions with dissident republican groups such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA about decommissioning their weapons.

"We have also made public our readiness to open such discussions," it said.

"We were unsuccessful in doing so and the decommissioning of the arms of those organisations remains outstanding."

Casualties

The Independent Monitoring Commission, which reported on paramilitary activity, also published its final report.

It said in the seven years since it was set up there had been 21 paramilitary murders and more than 800 "reported casualties of paramilitary violence".

"The position as we close is very far from ideal, as we described in our most recent report," it added.

"Dissident republicans are brutally active, especially against members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who are at greater threat than they were in 2004 when we first reported.

"One result is that whereas when we started we observed a scene from which terrorism against the organs of the state had largely disappeared, as we close we see classic signs of insurgent terrorism, albeit confined to the narrow dissident front and quite unlike the Troubles in its intensity or, we believe, its potential.

"Members and former members of all paramilitary groups remain very active in non-terrorist types of crime - a bequest from the Troubles which will dog Northern Ireland for years and will require a substantial continuing effort from law enforcement agencies."

The IMC said neither of the main loyalist groups had been able to articulate clearly how they want to move forward and "in contrast to the PIRA" were finding it difficult to contemplate going out of business.

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