Paisley blasts British 'surrender'
The Dublin and London governments have been threatened with the
"righteous indigination of the unionist population" if efforts
continue to restore a local power-sharing administration in the
North of Ireland.
Hardline unionist leader Ian Paisley made the comments in the
wake of the Provisional IRA declaring end to its armed campaign
and the first steps of a demilitarisaton programme by the
Sinn Fein is now seeking its first face-to-face talks with
Paisley's DUP party. However, recent peace moves appears only to
have outraged unionist political leaders.
Dr Paisley is currently in London for talks with the British
Secretary of State Peter Hain today and Prime Minister Tony
He has called the reduction of the British military presence a
"surrender" to the IRA and vowed to take unspecified "sanctions"
against the British government.
Mr Paisley declared his party had a "veto" on the return of
power-sharing in the North and added that the DUP would decide
whether "when, if ever" it would set up a devolved
administration in Belfast with Sinn Fein.
"The unionist people are not to be duped," he said last night.
"It will be my business and the business of my colleagues to lay
it on the line to both the Secretary of State and the Prime
Minister that there can be no place in any future government of
Northern Ireland for IRA/Sinn Fein.
"As the representatives of the majority of the Ulster
population, we will not be engaged in any negotiations with that
"The aim of the Belfast Agreement to put terrorists into
government will not take place and if the Government, allied
with IRA/Sinn Fein and the Dublin Government, press forward with
such measures, then they will have to face the righteous
indignation of the unionist population."
Ian Paisley has blamed the Ulster Unionists under former leader
David Trimble, claiming the demilitarisation policy was drawn up
when the UUP was the lead unionist party.
"Although the Secretary of State has confirmed that this is the
outworking of an agreement entered into in April 2003 which was
negotiated by the Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Fein, he had a
responsibility to consult with those who now represent
unionism," said Dr Paisley.
"This he has failed to do. The joint declaration negotiated by
David Trimble and Reg Empey is now coming back to haunt the
people of the province. This bilateral agreement between the
government and the IRA will have serious consequences for the
"The government needs to learn that they are no longer dealing
with David Trimble and Reg Empey," he added. "The era of
pushover unionism is over."
Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey has called for a pan-unionist
front to fight the measure. "Despite all these attacks on the
UUP, this issue is so important that I am prepared to co-
operate with like-minded unionists to seek to fight this
irresponsible decision," he said.
Echoing a policy call made earlier yesterday by renegade UUP
member David Burnside, he continued: "This would be a better use
of our time and energy than an endless blame game between
unionist parties that will only allow the government and
republicans to get on with dismantling the defences of our
Sinn Fein welcomed the start of the operation to scale down
security across the North.
Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said: "I think
we'll have a fair idea by Christmas how things are shaping up.
I think until then we will see the spotlight turning on the
Democratic Unionist Party, who really do need to respond to this
by adding their own momentum."
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI has welcomed last Thursday's IRA
statement, saying it brought "satisfaction and hope" not only
the island of Ireland but to the whole international community.
In an address to crowds at his summer residence Castelgandolfo,
near Rome, he described the statement as "fine news that
contrasts with the painful events that we witness daily in many
parts of the world".
The Pope was speaking during his weekly appearance following the
Angelus. "I encourage everyone, without exception, to follow the
path set out with courage, and to take further measures to
reinforce mutual trust, promote reconciliation and consolidate
negotiations for a just and lasting peace," the Pope said.
He said he was echoing a call by the late Pope John Paul II on
his visit to Ireland in 1979 to "distance oneself from the paths
of violence and return to the road to peace".
A joint statement issued by New York state comptroller Alan
Hevesi and New York city comptroller William Thompson said the
IRA's decision would open up opportunities for economic growth.
Mr Hevesi and Mr Thompson separately manage two of the largest
private pension funds in the United States.
"The IRA's decision to give up armed struggle against Britain
and pursue the reunification of Ireland by purely peaceful means
is a welcome and extremely significant, historic step," their
"The end of violence and the surety of peace in Northern Ireland
will dramatically improve the lives of all residents.
"It will also greatly improve the investment climate in Northern
Ireland by creating a more stable, long-term environment in
which businesses can operate.
"It certainly will raise the comfort level of investors in the
United States and Europe, allowing for the forging of exciting
new business opportunities."