Martin praises UDA progress
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin claims the Ulster Defence Association completing its weapons decommissioning has removed another obstacle to dialogue and partnership in the North.
The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) has confirmed the largest paramilitary group in the North has put its arsenal out of use.
Mr Martin said: "I would like to express the Government's appreciation to the loyalist leadership and all those who contributed to the courageous work which facilitated this decision for peace.
"This is a statement of confidence in the political process and in the devolved institutions, one which moves us closer to that genuinely shared future for which so many have worked over decades.
"Another obstacle to dialogue and partnership has been removed."
Mr Martin said it was essential that the political process did not leave any community behind.
"The Government recognises the acute economic and social disadvantage which affects particular areas of the North, not least in certain loyalist communities," he said.
"Tackling such economic and social disadvantage must be a priority, if the progress made is to be consolidated and built upon.
"I pay tribute to all those who encouraged today's very welcome developments, particularly the outreach and confidence building work of Dr Martin McAleese.
Mr Martin also praised the work of leader General de Chastelain and officials in the IICD.