Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, the Rev Ian Paisley, said yesterday that he would not form a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein after the destruction of the Provisional IRA’s weapons.
Mr Paisley said that he was shocked by what he had learnt during a meeting with General John de Chastelain, the retired Canadian soldier who announced on Monday that the IRA had got rid of its arsenal.
The DUP leader’s biggest grievance was with the two clergymen who witnessed the decommissioning. Mr Paisley described the pair as “IRA nominees” who had not been selected by either the British and Irish governments or the general’s independent commission.
He also asserted that the list of IRA weapons, provided to the general by British and Irish security forces, had been revised and tampered with.
Mr Paisley said: “These are the things that put a very big question over what has taken place. The more spotlight is put on this, the more we discover there is a cover-up,” reports Times Online.
According to Telegraph, Mr Paisley and his MPs spent over an hour with Gen de Chastelain, the Independent International Commission for Decommissioning chairman, the day after he announced to the world that the IRA had dumped all its weapons.
"It is nonsense to say that decommissioning has been completed," Mr Paisley said. Mr Paisley was angered to learn that the intelligence estimates of the IRA's armoury used to judge if all weapons had gone had been revised - suggesting that some were still outstanding.
"Even the security forces admit that some of the weapons that were in the original lists are now given to other dissident organisations and that is very serious," he said.
The estimate used had an upper and lower tolerance level, Mr Paisley said. Gen de Chastelain had refused to tell him if the number of weapons decommissioned met the higher or lower level. But he said the DUP "got the biggest surprise of all" when they discovered that improvised weapons such as home-made bombs were not included on the intelligence lists.
"These things put a question, a very big question, over what has taken place," Mr Paisley said.