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Statement by Shaun Woodward about three acts of Decommissioning, Belfast, (8 February 2010)

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Text: Shaun Woodward ... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Statement by Shaun Woodward, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, about three acts of decommissioning, Belfast, (8 February 2010)


Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward welcomed the confirmation today by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) that the INLA, the Official IRA and the South East Antrim UDA have decommissioned their weapons.

He also welcomed the commitment that this shows to achieving political ends peacefully and not through violence and said that Dissident Republicans need to get that message.

The Secretary of State said:

“This is another hugely significant day in the history of Northern Ireland. On the eve of the end of the decommissioning legislation, these acts of decommissioning and those that have gone before are recognition that the future of Northern Ireland must be a peaceful one, free from violence and the fear of violence.

The message it sends to those who still think that they can threaten, maim and murder when the voices of people around the world are raised against them could not be clearer.

They delude themselves, and those they try to recruit, if they do not recognise that change that is to mean anything can only come about through argument, persuasion and dialogue not coercion.”

He also reiterated that the decommissioning deadline is tomorrow the 9th February and that the legislation will not be renewed.

There were those who argued against the renewal of the decommission legislation for one final year when I proposed it last year.

I understood their position but judged that if there was a chance to take more guns and bombs out of circulation through this mechanism then it should be taken.

The fact that we have seen major acts of decommission during the year vindicates that decision.

The significance of decommissioning goes well the beyond the removal of arms, important as that is.

It is a physical manifestation of the triumph of politics over violence.”


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