The IRA leadership has told its rank and file that it will resist pressure to film them destroying weapons as part of any deal to save the Good Friday Agreement.
Intelligence passed to the Garda Siochana suggests that the IRA is ready to decommission a large arsenal of guns and explosives. But senior Garda officers have told The Observer that the Provisionals have assured their members that any major act of disarmament would be carried out in secret.
David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, has insisted that any decommissioning must be filmed in order to boost confidence among Protestants who have lost faith in the peace process.
However, one Garda officer warned that resistance to a public act of decommissioning is widespread throughout the republican movement.