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Statement by Ian Paisley on the British Government’s Plans for Security Normalisation in Northern Ireland, (1 August 2005)

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Text: Ian Paisley... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), on the British Government’s Plans for Security Normalisation in Northern Ireland, (1 August 2005)


"The Government’s so-called normalisation programme will have a profound impact on the political process in Northern Ireland. It is a surrender to the IRA and is further evidence of bad faith on the part of the Government. We are appalled at the dishonest and dangerous approach of the Government with today’s announcement of ‘normalisation’ and we want to make it clear that it will pay a high price for the approach that is being taken.

Only last week the Government indicated that words were not enough and that only actions would be satisfactory from the IRA. However, yet again we see the Government prepared to take republicans at their word. Have they learnt nothing from history? Already in only a matter of days the Government has rushed into announcing decisions which are the product of a political deal not security considerations.

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. 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 political process. The Secretary of State may believe that today’s statement will bring forward devolution, but the reality is that it will delay its return.

The Secretary of State should be aware that of all the political parties in Northern Ireland, the DUP needs devolution the least and whilst we have no control over many decisions that the Government takes, we do have a veto on the return of devolution. The Government may wish to avoid dealing with the DUP in taking its decisions, but there are some things they cannot do without the support of the unionist community. We alone will dictate when we enter negotiations with the Government about devolution. We alone will dictate when, if ever, we enter discussions with Sinn Fein and we alone will dictate when, if ever, and in what circumstances, we enter an administration with Sinn Fein. There is a price which we are not prepared to pay for the return of devolution.

The destruction of the RIR represents yet another example of how this Government treats those who have put their lives on the line and made sacrifices during the Troubles. It is a scandalous betrayal of those who have given their lives to protect the community. The RIR have now to go the same way as the RUC, the USC and the UDR. We salute the memory of the gallant men and women who paid the supreme price and who are now quickly forgotten by the Government.

The Government needs to learn that they are no longer dealing with David Trimble and Reg Empey. The era of pushover unionism is over. There will be a penalty for the Government to pay for the decisions it has taken to date and a further penalty if there are more concessions. When we meet the Secretary of State on Wednesday we will set out the penalties which we will impose and will raise the matter with the Prime Minister face to face.

The Government’s statement is a further sop to republicans and will be condemned by virtually every unionist in Northern Ireland."


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