A republican paramilitary group which killed more than 100 people is poised to announce today that it has decommissioned its weapons.
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) is expected to reveal that it has destroyed its illegal arsenal in recent weeks, according to republican sources.
The splinter group was responsible for some of the most infamous attacks of the Troubles, including the killing of Conservative MP Airey Neave in 1979.
Four months ago the INLA used a graveside oration outside Dublin to confirm its “armed struggle is over” and vowed to end its 35-year campaign of violence in the North.
There was confusion, however, regarding whether or not the group was prepared to decommission its illegal arsenal of weapons, after the statement read to supporters failed to promise a disposal of arms.
The INLA’s announcement will come just days after a historic deal was brokered that will see republicans and unionists share responsibility for running the North’s justice system.
It will also coincide with the end of legislation that allows armed groups to dispose of their weaponry without fear of prosecution.
Once the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) ceases to exist, any paramilitaries found in possession of weapons face prosecution and imprisonment. Recovered arms will also be forensically tested to secure convictions.
The loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force decommissioned last year, while the loyalist Ulster Defence Association put its weapons beyond use last month. The IRA was witnessed destroying its cache almost five years ago.
The INLA was formed in 1974 and was known as a brutally violent organisation that also engaged in bitter internal feuds.
In 1979 it claimed the life of Conservative shadow secretary for Northern Ireland Airey Neave, a close associate of Margaret Thatcher, who was killed when a boobytrap bomb exploded beneath his car at the House of Commons.