Bruton promises legislation on decommissioning soon

 

LEGISLATION to facilitate the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons is "at an advanced stage" and will be published soon, the Taoiseach, Mr Bruton, told the Dail.

In a separate statement issued yesterday, the Taoiseach said that the two governments joint paper on decommissioning, published on Tuesday, clearly showed their readiness to deal seriously with the issue in line with the Mitchell Report.

The governments agreed to establish a committee to deal with decommissioning, a suggestion that has already been dismissed by the Ulster Unionist Party.

But Mr Bruton insisted that the only realistic way to achieve decommissioning was for all participants in the talks to work constructively and in good faith to implement all aspects of the International Body's Report.

"As regards the paper on decommissioning now tabled by the Ulster Unionist Party, the talks process affords an opportunity for all participants to articulate their viewpoints. Such articulation is not, however, a substitute for constructive engagement and compromise with the positions of others," Mr Bruton said.

The Government's conviction remained that "durable progress" could best be made through all party discussions. It had made a major effort to inject the "necessary momentum and substance" into the talks process, he claimed.

"A unique opportunity for such discussions has been created by the current talks in Belfast," he said.

The Government, which was carefully reviewing recent developments in Northern Ireland, was committed to making the talks work and "invites all others with an interest in peace and reconciliation to make a similar commitment".

Mr Bruton repeated the call for a restoration of the IRA ceasefire.