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Statement by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the DUP, at a DUP Press Conference in Belfast, 8 December 2004

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

Statement by Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), at a DUP Press Conference in Belfast, 8 December 2004


"Since our victory in the Assembly election last November we have diligently and sincerely attempted to fulfil the mandate we were given by the electorate. We have made significant progress and, along with the Government, have resolved issues in relation to all aspects of the comprehensive agreement with the exception of the modalities on decommissioning.

We were in the process of resolving these outstanding matters when Sinn Fein/IRA brought their discussions with the Government to an end. We will continue in the task of fulfilling our manifesto pledge of seeking a fair deal for all the people of Northern Ireland.

It is clear from the remarks of the Prime Minister and Bertie Ahern where the responsibility for the current impasse lies. One hardly needs to read between the lines to see that it was the inability of the republican movement to decommission in the manner that was expected by the two Governments. No one should be in any doubt that it was the IRA that said no.

The outstanding issues on decommissioning were still under discussion yesterday when republicans pulled the plug on the deal. In these circumstances it is important that the Government should proceed on the basis that they have set out and with the parties which are willing to sign up to the arrangements. In the past the process has continued whenever our support is absent. Now it is time, if republicans are not prepared to decommission in a manner which will give confidence to the community, to continue without them until they can meet the terms required by the Government in their paper.

We believe that in the other aspects of the paper we have achieved very considerable progress. Even Bertie Ahern conceded that it was our right to argue for new arrangements in relation to the running of devolved institutions. We have succeeded in the talks to the mandate that we were given and our Prime Minister accepted that the DUP got the changes they demanded."


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