The International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) has confirmed the Provisional IRA (IRA) has decommissioned a large quantity of its weapons, putting them completely beyond use. The material in question includes arms, ammunition and explosives.
Chaired by General John de Chastelain, the IICD was established as part of the peace process in Northern Ireland to oversee the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. Two international observers, former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, and South African politician Cyril Ramaphosa were appointed to inspect the IRA weapons dumps.
The IRA agreed a scheme with the IICD to put its weapons completely and verifiably beyond use. In a statement the Provisional IRA confirmed it had implemented the scheme in a bid to save the peace process.
Sinn Féin Preisdent Gerry Adams responded positively to the statement.
This is a huge moment in the history of our island, in the relationships between our island and the island of Britain...let’s take it as a huge leap forward.
Former Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader and one of the main architects of the peace process John Hume also welcomes the statement.
I think the language of statement is very positive, when in particular they say that the peace process is under threat from a political collapse, and it was the duty of everyone to do what they could to resolve that, and that's what they were doing.
The IRA statement is seen by some as groundbreaking, momentous and historic. The IRA for the first time in history has destroyed some of its own weapons and allowed international observers to witness the event.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 October 2001. The reporter is Charlie Bird.