Statement by the Minister of State in response to the report by the IICD on IRA Decommissioning
Today's positive report from the IICD will be welcomed, not just in Ireland, but around the world. Under the chairmanship of General de Chastelain, the IICD has played a hugely important role, and deployed their vast experience and expertise, in verifying that a significant decommissioning event has taken place.
In an almost global atmosphere of apprehension and doubt, this most positive development brings with it a renewal of hope and the potential for genuine partnership and peace in our own long-troubled corner of the world. Today, democracy and the yearning of the Irish people for peace has prevailed.
I was privileged to have been a party to the negotiations on the Good Friday Agreement and I have always firmly believed that it was only the full and comprehensive implementation of that Agreement which could truly deliver a just and lasting settlement on this island. This significant move by Irish republicanism maximises the potential for that implementation at a crucial time in our peace process. The role and leadership of Sinn Féin, in helping to bring about this development, deserves to be commended
Over the past three years since the Agreement was signed there have been many obstacles to overcome. These have required, and will continue to require, courageous steps, such as the one which the IICD has verified today. I hope that in their response to this action, all sides and all parties will take advantage of the tremendous opportunity it provides and react with a true generosity of spirit.
This is history in the making. A history that for so long has held us back on this island now has the potential to drive us forward into a peaceful future and copper-fasten our prosperity. Building on today's momentous news, we must all continue to strive to ensure that the potential of the Good Friday Agreement is fully realised.