Northern Ireland’s secret arms deal
Public ‘will never be told full decommissioning details’
The public is unlikely to ever learn the full extent of the paramilitary arsenals destroyed by the international decommissioning body because of a deal with the terror organisations.
Almost a year after the last acts of disarmament, the final report of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning has yet to be submitted to the British and Irish governments.
While the final report by General John de Chastelain’s team will include an inventory of all weapons and explosives destroyed, how much of this information the governments will release is unclear.
A spokesman for the commission told the Belfast Telegraph: “We are finalising the report. There is no exact date yet, but we expect to be submitting it early in 2011.”
Asked about its content, he said: “It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment whilst it is work-in-progress.”
No explanation for the year-long wait for the report has been given.
UDA ‘brigadier’ Jackie McDonald, who was present when that organisation’s weapons were |destroyed a year ago, is not |expecting a full inventory to be released.
“I would expect a more general thing,” he said.
Asked whether something more specific could emerge — including the number and type of weapons decommissioned by each organisation, he said: “That wasn’t part of the arrangement.
“I don’t think he (General de Chastelain) could. It was never, ever discussed that that would happen.
“That would’ve had to have been part of the discussion along the line and it wasn’t.”
Confirmation of the group’s decommissioning came on January 6 last year with the UDA saying “all weaponry under its control” had been put beyond use.
The UVF also claimed to have decommissioned all its arms, but later its leaders sanctioned the murder of former Red Hand Commando prisoner Bobby Moffett on the Shankill Road in Belfast.
Neither MI5 nor the PSNI believe that all IRA weapons were decommissioned.
The commission had estimates of how much weaponry the groups had, and the IICD inventory will be checked against those to establish the extent of decommissioning.
Willie Gallagher of the INLA-linked Republican Socialist Movement told this newspaper: “If they (the IICD) do itemise the amount of weaponry and explosives they would do it in an overall sense — not by organisation.
“That’s our understanding of what will happen.”