Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has given a cautious welcome to reports that the IRA have decommissioned their weapons, but has stressed that the wider issue of whether or not they have given up all paramilitary and criminal activity has still to be assessed.
David Ford said:
“Alliance is encouraged by reports that the IRA have engaged in further acts of arms decommissioning. We await with interest the formal confirmation of this development, and an indication of its scope. However, it must seen as only part of a wider process of building confidence across the community.
“Decommissioning is important in three respects. Firstly, weapons are removed from circulation. Secondly, it further addresses what has been a major political blockage over the past decade. And thirdly, it gives a degree of reassurance to the community that a return to mass terrorism is off the cards.
“Yet, there are crucial questions remaining for the Republican Movement, including whether or not they have ended all paramilitary and criminal activity for good, and whether or not they are prepared to accept the legitimacy of the northern and southern states with respect to policing and criminal justice. Any new beginning in this respect will begin to be verified by the IMC over the coming months.”