One of the key figures of the peace process has spoken of his regret that paramilitary violence has continued in the North, two decades on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

General John de Chastelain, who was the head of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, was today honoured at Dundalk Institute of Technology when the library was named after him.

Speaking to RTÉ News at Dundalk IT this evening, Mr De Chastelain expressed concern about the political vacuum that exists in the North now.

It comes ahead of fresh talks between Northern Ireland's main political parties next week aimed at restoring power-sharing.

"I know the leaders of both parties want to be in government and I also have to believe they want to get over their differences. I also have to believe the people of Northern Ireland want them back in action. The vacuum has not been helpful. I hope they would come up with compromises to allow them do what they were initially elected to do," he said.

Mr De Chastelain also spoke of his sadness at the recent killing of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry and he questioned the strategy of those behind it.

"What can you hope to gain from violence? I hear they never intended to kill that young woman and I understand that, except when you use violence unexpected things happen and they are usually tragic."

The 81-year-old former solider and diplomat would not be drawn on Brexit, only to say he was "totally bemused" by developments.

"It's not for me to say whether its right or wrong but I do understand the implications of it. I just hope whoever does decide or whatever is decided it will not be to the detriment of the work that led to the end of the Troubles on this island."

He also said it is impossible to guarantee that everything was decommissioned.

"Weapons are still there, new weapons are brought in all the time. We made that point in our final point. Getting arms is not easy but it's not all that hard."

His involvement with Dundalk comes from his connection with the Ireland Park Foundation, a Toronto based arts, culture and heritage charitable foundation, and its chairman, the Irish-Canadian businessman Robert Kearns.

The two men shared interest in the 19th century politician and journalist Thomas D'Arcy McGee, one of the fathers of the Canadian Confederation who was born in nearby Carlingford, Co Louth.