Decommissioning

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th March 2010.

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Photo of Shaun Woodward Shaun Woodward The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I placed in the Library of the House on 3 March the most recent report from the IICD, which recorded full and final acts of decommissioning. I expect a final report, including a report on armaments, to be published later in the year.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow Spokesperson (Education), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Can the Secretary of State confirm that within the final report, there will be a full inventory of the weapons that were decommissioned, as his predecessor assured us would happen?

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Photo of Shaun Woodward Shaun Woodward The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The hon. Gentleman will know that the IICD was set up by both the British Government and the Irish Government. The arrangements to bring to an end decommissioning in the Republic of Ireland have now been concluded. We are in discussions with the Irish Government and with the IICD about the scope of the IICD's final report, which will contain a report on armaments.

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Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Leader of the Social Democratic & Labour Party

The Secretary of State rightly referred to the fact that both the British and Irish Governments set up the IICD. They did so arising out of agreements and negotiations in the talks leading to the Good Friday agreement. Does he recognise that when that commission was being set up and whenever decommissioning was being pursued, the main Unionist party insisted that decommissioning was not intended to happen as part of the agreement and was a fiction? Will he therefore acknowledge that the progress that has been made proves that those of us who committed to the agreement and to decommissioning were right and were honest?

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Photo of Shaun Woodward Shaun Woodward The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

In the course of the peace process, political parties in Northern Ireland have taken positions which in the end will, I hope, reflect a unanimous position that all the work that has been done to achieve peace and stability in Northern Ireland has succeeded. I hope that all political parties-including, as I am sure it does, the Democratic Unionist party-support the work of the IICD.

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