IRA must disband - Paisley
Peace talks in Dublin between DUP leader Ian Paisley and the 26-County
government were described as 'forthright' but have failed to yield
tangible signs of progress.
Mr Paisley said he told Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that any attempt to give
speaking rights to northern representatives in the Dublin parliament
would be considered an "act of aggression against Northern Ireland"
"If it transpires that Northern Ireland MPs are to be treated on
equal basis with those who are members of the southern parliament, then
we would consider that a quasi-con-stitutional claim on Northern
Ireland," declared Paisley.
"Such an unfriendly act of aggression against Northern Ireland's
sovereignty would not be tolerated by us as unionists."
Dublin officials said Mr Paisley had mistakenly believed that northern
representatives would unofficially be accorded membership of the Dail.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said they had explained the
proposal to the DUP "and I think a lot of the misconceptions they
about the idea were dispelled".
There was no sign after the meeting, however, of any progress towards
the implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
An official "Independent Monitoring Commission" is to report
on any continuing activity by the Provisional IRA. Despite the IRA's
recent declaration of an end to its armed campaign, the DUP continues
refuse to hold talks with Sinn Fein.
Dr Paisley told reporters after the meeting that the IMC had told him
there was no prospect"it would give "a clean bill of health"
called "IRA/Sinn Fein".
Asked if saw himself sharing power with Sinn Fein he said: "No. Not
IRA/Sinn Fein. I believe as the Taoiseach has said and also the Minister
for Justice has said, that terrorism must finish. The IRA has to be
Mr Paisley also railed at the failure of the Dublin government to
extradite the Colombia 3 following the recent return of the three
republicans who faced a miscarriage of justice in that country.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, has
challenged the DUP to stop propping up the widely disliked direct rule
Speaking after talks at Hillsborough Castle earlier this week, Mr
McGuinness said he wanted Mr Paisley to stand by his word and enter
government with Sinn Fein now that the IRA had decommissioned its
He accused Mr Paisley of betraying his own electorate and failing to
show the "new confident face of unionism" he promised following
Further discussions will take place at Hillsborough Castle next week
despite a boycott by the DUP. The "talks about talks" are intended
fix the positions of the various parties prior to possible renewed
negotiations on re-establishing devolution, which could be held in the
Mr McGuinness said: "For almost nine months of the last year the
prime minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern spent many long
hours trying to convince Gerry Adams and myself that Ian Paisley would
go into government with Sinn Fein if only the issue of arms could be
"Ian Paisley told them that the only issue that he was concerned
was the issue of arms - if that could be resolved he was prepared to go
into government with Sinn Fein."
Mr McGuinness said republicans had "delivered big time" by resolving
arms issue and had a right to inquire against that backdrop whether Ian
Paisley would respond positively.
"Ian Paisley tells us he is a man of God. I would like to know whether
he is a man of his word."