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Daily History

September 25 2005 IRA officially disarms


On September 25th 2005, two months after announcing its intention to disarm, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) gave up its weapons in front of independent weapons inspectors.

The decommissioning of the group’s substantial arsenal took place in secret locations in the Republic of Ireland.

One Protestant and one Catholic priest as well as officials from Finland and the United States served as witnesses to the historic event.

Automatic weapons, ammunition, missiles and explosives were among the arms found in the cache, which the head weapons inspector described as “enormous.”

Originally founded in 1919 to militarily oppose British rule in Ireland, the IRA had operated since about the 1960s as the military arm of Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist political party.

The IRA (and splinter groups using various derivatives of the name) had used terrorist tactics and assassinations for more than 30 years in their struggle to free Northern Ireland from British rule.

In April 1998, after more than 22 months of negotiating, a 67-page peace accord called the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement was finally signed.

Endorsed by the British and Irish governments, eight of Northern Ireland s ten political parties, and the region s voters, the agreement included power-sharing among Catholics and Protestants in government, a commitment to peace and democracy, and a pledge by paramilitary groups on both sides to decommission their weapons within two years.

A ceasefire had been in place since 1997, and although they continued to abide by it, the IRA initially refused to give up their weapons. This stalled the peace process for almost six years.

Although many Northern Irish Protestants did not trust that the IRA was truly giving up all of its weapons, the disarmament represented an important step toward lasting peace in the long-troubled region. In the aftermath of the disarmament, IRA splinter groups threatened to continue the violence.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “September 25 2005 IRA officially disarms

  1. Thank you, Craig!

    Posted by Amy | September 25, 2012, 03:04
  2. This is something to commemorate, indeed.
    Many, many small courageous steps led up to this one.
    And then the impossible is surmounted.

    Posted by Jnana Hodson | September 25, 2012, 11:11
  3. Thanks .. for this. Lived in Belfast when this happen … it was a massive day and a massive leap – but there was weapons on all sides and it was only IRA that had to put down theirs, but they did and everything changed in Northern Ireland. There will always happen some shit there, but there is no more retaliations – and the parties stand side by side in this. There is still frictions that don’t want the peace, but they are getting weaker and weaker. I lived there for 10 years and it’s one of the nicest and friendliest cities in the world.

    Posted by viveka | September 25, 2012, 22:34

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