Bishops welcome news of IRA decommissioning - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
September 27, 2005

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Bishops welcome news of IRA decommissioning

-27/09/05

The Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland have welcomed the confirmation by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) and the two independent Church witnesses that the IRA has honoured the commitments set out in its statement at the end of July.

Following the announcement of complete decommissioning on the part of the IRA by the IICD and the two witnesses, Rev Harold Good and Fr Alec Reid, the Bishops issued a statement from a meeting in Maynooth, on the eve of the September General Meeting of the Irish Bishops' Conference.

The Bishops suggested that the announcement was a 'vindication' of the efforts undertaken by all those who had worked to 'replace violence with dialogue'.

Their comments will be seen as directed towards, amongst others, the two churchmen involved in witnessing the ongoing process.

Rev Hood, a former president of the Methodist Church was appointed in the late 1960s to serve the Shankill Road in Belfast. During that time he was also part-time chaplain at the city's Crumlin Road Prison. He later became director of the Corrymeela Community Centre for Reconciliation, a community where Catholics and Protestants work together and has been involved in working for peace for many years.

The other witness, Fr Reid, is a member of the Redemptorist Clonard Monastery on Belfast's Falls Road. He helped to arrange ground-breaking talks between Mr Adams and then SDLP leader John Hume which led in time, to the 1993 Downing Street Declaration and eventually the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

He was also the man the IRA turned to when under pressure to reveal where the bodies of those secretly murdered and buried by the IRA were hidden. The IRA gave the locations of the "Disappeared" to the priest and he passed them on, acting as a conduit between the organisation and the authorities.

"This represents an immensely significant confidence-building measure in favour of a more peaceful and stable society in Northern Ireland" the statement from the Catholic bishops said.

"We hope that all who exercise leadership will continue to affirm the political process as the means to resolve any remaining issues in the search for peace. We call on all other paramilitary groups to affirm their commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.

"We wish to congratulate General John de Chastelain and his colleagues for their professionalism, thoroughness and patience. We wish also to commend the judgement and integrity of Rev. Harold Good and Fr Alex Reid, two men who have, for many years, consistently and generously committed themselves to the resolution of conflict in our society.

"While we acknowledge today's long awaited achievement, we are mindful of all those who have suffered as a result of violence, and we keep them in our prayers."

Find books now:

Bishops welcome news of IRA decommissioning

-27/09/05

The Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland have welcomed the confirmation by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) and the two independent Church witnesses that the IRA has honoured the commitments set out in its statement at the end of July.

Following the announcement of complete decommissioning on the part of the IRA by the IICD and the two witnesses, Rev Harold Good and Fr Alec Reid, the Bishops issued a statement from a meeting in Maynooth, on the eve of the September General Meeting of the Irish Bishops' Conference.

The Bishops suggested that the announcement was a 'vindication' of the efforts undertaken by all those who had worked to 'replace violence with dialogue'.

Their comments will be seen as directed towards, amongst others, the two churchmen involved in witnessing the ongoing process.

Rev Hood, a former president of the Methodist Church was appointed in the late 1960s to serve the Shankill Road in Belfast. During that time he was also part-time chaplain at the city's Crumlin Road Prison. He later became director of the Corrymeela Community Centre for Reconciliation, a community where Catholics and Protestants work together and has been involved in working for peace for many years.

The other witness, Fr Reid, is a member of the Redemptorist Clonard Monastery on Belfast's Falls Road. He helped to arrange ground-breaking talks between Mr Adams and then SDLP leader John Hume which led in time, to the 1993 Downing Street Declaration and eventually the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

He was also the man the IRA turned to when under pressure to reveal where the bodies of those secretly murdered and buried by the IRA were hidden. The IRA gave the locations of the "Disappeared" to the priest and he passed them on, acting as a conduit between the organisation and the authorities.

"This represents an immensely significant confidence-building measure in favour of a more peaceful and stable society in Northern Ireland" the statement from the Catholic bishops said.

"We hope that all who exercise leadership will continue to affirm the political process as the means to resolve any remaining issues in the search for peace. We call on all other paramilitary groups to affirm their commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.

"We wish to congratulate General John de Chastelain and his colleagues for their professionalism, thoroughness and patience. We wish also to commend the judgement and integrity of Rev. Harold Good and Fr Alex Reid, two men who have, for many years, consistently and generously committed themselves to the resolution of conflict in our society.

"While we acknowledge today's long awaited achievement, we are mindful of all those who have suffered as a result of violence, and we keep them in our prayers."

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