The Irish Republican Army formally ended its 30-year armed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland on Thursday, in a potentially historic move that could take the gun out of Northern Irish politics for good.
The IRA said it would engage with an independent arms decommissioning body to verify it had put its massive arsenal of guns and explosives beyond use, but gave no date for completion.
“All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programs through exclusively peaceful means,” the IRA said in its statement.
Here is the statement in full.
Notwithstanding these difficulties our decisions have been taken to advance our republican and democratic objectives, including our goal of a united Ireland. We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country. It is the responsibility of all Volunteers to show leadership, determination and courage. We are very mindful of the sacrifices of our patriot dead, those who went to jail, Volunteers, their families and the wider republican base. We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate.
We are conscious that many people suffered in the conflict. There is a compelling imperative on all sides to build a just and lasting peace.
There is now an unprecedented opportunity to utilise the considerable energy and goodwill which there is for the peace process. This comprehensive series of unparalleled initiatives is our contribution to this and to the continued endeavours to bring about independence and unity for the people of Ireland.
If this works out, it will be fantastic…a great example for the rest of the world.