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Speech by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the DUP, to the Independent Orange Demonstration, 12 July 2004

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

Speech by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to the Independent Orange Demonstration in Rasharkin, County Antrim, (12 July 2004)


"I have here a bottle of Ulster water. It is so different from the various Irish waters which claim so much for themselves such as having peculiarly special and outstanding characteristics. But this bottle of Ulster water is labelled thus:

'No volcanic rock. No foggy mists of time. No myths, no legends, no leprechauns. Just pure, clear water'.

And best of all, it’s bottled in Ulster! Ulster water as it is, pure and crystal clear. Today we are presenting traditional Unionism, crystal clear. There is none like it; give it me. During the last two decades the Ulster traditional unionists have been the butt of fearsome attack. Their history has been sullied, their principles slandered, their objectives shamelessly misrepresented, and their behaviour reviled.

Wounded in the house of their friends, abused by their so-called defenders, covered in ignominy and shame by their evil detractors, and diabolically betrayed. The British Government has again surrendered to the murderers and terrorists of the IRA. The only reason that the Orangemen of Portadown cannot be permitted to march back from their church to their homes is the utter cowardice of the Blair administration.

Over and over again the Government has bowed its knees to the murdering thugs of IRA/Sinn Fein.

The Parades commission insults both Orangemen and the Protestant majority by damning the Portadown Orangemen with faint praise.

It is back to Reformation days as far as Rome is concerned.  Rome dictates to the Protestants what church they should march to. The traditional unionists have passed through a time of the most severe testing. Their self-appointed leaders have been exposed as self-appointed traitors, experts in deception, fraud and betrayal.

But this 12th July 2004 is different.

A change has come about, and today the traditional unionists have been revived, and have partaken of a new zeal to defeat our ancient enemies, and crush the vipers who poisoned our society. A new determination has been born, and this 12th July the traditional unionists of Ulster are on the march to another great victory. The election results were a tonic to the soul of Ulster. New life entered the Ulster people , and the betrayers got their desserts. What a blow struck Ulster’s enemies, with the traditional unionists taking back a seat in West Belfast by sending the IRA Sinn Feiner about his business. That spirit must be further strengthened and every vestige of easy push-over unionism erased from our midst. The spirit of Trimbleism must be buried in a tomb from which there is no resurrection. I was reminded recently of the following words:

We wait beneath the furnace blast
The pangs of transformation;
Not painlessly doth God recast
And mould anew our Province.
Hot burns the fire where wrongs expire;
Nor spares the hand that from the land
Uproots the ancient evil.
The handbreadth cloud the sages feared
Its bloody rain is dropping;
The poison-plant the fathers spared
All else is overtopping.
East, West, south, North, It curses the earth;
All justice dies, and fraud and lies
Live only in its shadow.
Then waste no blows on lesser foes
In strife unworthy freemen
God lifts today the veil, and shows
The features of the demon!
O North and South, its victims both,
Can ye not cry Let Tyranny die!
And union find in freedom
What though the cast-out spirit tear
The Province in its going?
We who have shared the guilt must share
The pang of his o’erthrowing!
Whate’er the loss, whate’er the cross,
Shall they complain of present pain
Who trust in God’s hereafter?
For who that leans on His right arm
Was ever yet forsaken?
What righteous cause can suffer harm
If He its part has taken?
Though wild and loud and dark the cloud,
Behind its folds His hand upholds
The calm sky of tomorrow!
Above the maddening cry for blood,
Above the wild war-drumming,
Let Freedom’s voice be heard, with good
The evil overcoming.
Give prayer and purse to stay the curse
Whose wrong we share, whose shame we bear,
Whose end shall gladden Heaven!
In vain the bells of war shall rig
Of triumphs and revenges,
While still is spared the evil thing
That severs and estranges.
But blest the ear that yet shall hear
The jubilant bell that rings the knell
Of tyranny forever!
Then let the selfish lip be dumb,
And hushed the breath of sighing;
Before the joy of peace must come
The pains of purifying.
God give us grace each in his place
To bear his lot, and murmuring not,
Endure, and wait, and labour!

Let us renew our faith in the god of our fathers, and let us face our foes with a courage which will die rather than surrender. I address you today as the mandated leader of the Unionist people, and I give you my pledge that there shall be no compromise, no sell-out, and no surrender. Hear Mr Trimble’s words in the recent book written about him :

‘It’s a curious thing; deep down inside I believe I’m very good, but somehow I’m not always managing to reflect that in what I do.’ What a confession! He believes that inside he is very good but he is not always able to reflect that goodness in what he does! What a confession! It is the confession of a man bolstering his own goodness and then saying he cannot live up to it. He feels he is very good! Those who know the gospel have an entirely different feeling. With Paul they confess ‘In my flesh dwelleth no good thing.’ Romans 7:18.

‘Only a sinner saved by grace’ is the language of a genuine believer.

Think of the implications of this confession.  ‘ I’m very good when I’m not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I’m very good when I am breaking my pledges, disowning my affirmations and going back on my promises.’ How could he be very good inside himself when he is engaged in seeking to destroy his Province and undo all that unionist leaders claimed they sought to do, and which he claimed he was doing.

No wonder Ulster people are angry with David Trimble. I have asked him to come clean with me and let me know what agreements he has with Tony Blair and IRA/Sinn Fein to give in on certain vital issues, but he refuses to respond.   ‘Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.’

Those evil and murderous men of IRA/Sinn Fein and their fellow-travellers are not good but evil, and their design is the utter destruction of Protestant Ulster.  Even this very day parades to Protestant churches are banned, services stopped, and civil and religious liberty is refused to the Protestant people. No such action prevails against Romanists. The aim is to crush the Protestant faith. Yes, Mr. Trimble has been very good for the IRA.

Remember what Martin McGuinness said last year before the November elections? ‘I don’t want anti-agreement unionists to be in the ascendancy.’ In spite of Trimble surrenders, the election put paid to his betrayals.

I have a message for our enemies, IRA/Sinn Fein: You are not facing push-over unionists like David Trimble. For the first time in thirty years the IRA is being confronted by real traditional unionists who will not accept their word as bona-fide. Since November the concession process, despite the best efforts from Tony Blair, has been put on hold. I mean to have it stopped and to put it out of business altogether. There must not be any more concessions. Any concession or concessions threatened in the current round are the legacy of cleaning up the mess made by David Trimble. For the first time in a long time, unionism is building in self-confidence. The cold house for Protestants is beginning to lose its chill. Protestants can stand up and be counted. They have representatives they can trust and who will not let them down. They have representation that is determined to check Sinn Fein/IRA’s onward march and not concede to it.

Sinn Fein cannot handle the DUP. They have never before been confronted by traditional unionism. Rather, they have lived off the fat of concessions for nothing and deals for free. Now they witness a new unionism, a revived and rejuvenated unionist and Protestant community who are uniting behind a party with the message that the concessions are over, and now it’s our time in the sun.

I challenge the Government and David Trimble to tell us about their alternative. For five years we were criticised for having no alternative to the Belfast Agreement. We have turned the tables on that. We have an alternative that is workable and achievable. It is now up to the government to work to that end. Our mandate requires it. What is David Trimble’s alternative now? Is it the failed Belfast Agreement, or is it direct rule with an increased Irish dimension?

As a democrat, I oppose terrorists in government. But as a unionist I equally oppose a foreign government having a say in the affairs of Northern Ireland. Trimble’s alternative is worse than before. I call on him and what remains of his party to pull with us instead of standing in the way, otherwise the people of Ulster will finish the job and sweep him and his party off the political map once and for all. I will not let Sinn Fein off the hook. Terrorism must be sunk once and for all. What is Trimble playing at that he must defend them?

I will tell you. It is his only way back into government in alliance with IRA/Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein has the biggest credibility gap of all. They cannot expect unionists and democrats to share power with them. They are a terrorist organisation. Listen to what the Prime Minister said about them in the House of Commons on 27th November 2002, when I asked him the simple question ‘What is an act of completion?  Does it consist of IRA/Sinn Fein repudiating and ceasing violence and being disbanded, or does it simply mean that they make a statement that they will give up violence?' Here is his reply:

‘It is not merely a statement, a declaration or words. It means giving up violence completely in a way that satisfies everyone and gives them confidence that the IRA has ceased its campaign, and enables us to move the democratic process forward, with every party that wants to be in government abiding by the same democratic rules.’

It is up to Sinn Fein to address their lack of credibility before anything they say or do will have any credibility in the eyes of unionists or indeed in the eyes of the world. I say to them ‘If you don’t give up your weapons then you will never be in any government of Northern Ireland.

1. I call on the government to address matters that affect everyone in this Province, such as the future of the Police, which is seriously undermined and further threatened by the scurrilous campaign being waged against the retention of the full-time Reserve. In this connection, I call on the Chief Constable to say now, that he will be retaining the full-time Reserve.

2. I call on the Courts to back the police with tougher sentences given to those who commit serious crimes. Furthermore, bail must not be handed out to criminal suspects. The courts must not make an ass of the law by a weak sentencing policy.

I repeat what I said at the Lancaster House talks. The DUP is fully committed, consistent with its mandate, to continue serious engagement with the government in order to move forward the negotiations. Our priority in this process remains the return of devolution on a basis that involves all parties working together on a level playing field which is exclusively peaceful and democratic. There can be no tolerance of terrorism and no inclusion of unrepentant terrorists. It is only on that basis that we can move forward. It is, without apology, ‘no guns – no government’. Both Governments have received this message loud and clear.

Unionist confidence has continued to grow since November last. With the passing of each day, more and more unionists have come to realise that now is the time to stand up and be counted."


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