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Statement by Ian Paisley (DUP) marking 100 days since the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland, (15 August 2007)

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

Statement by Ian Paisley (DUP), then First Minister of Northern Ireland and Leader of the DUP, marking 100 days since the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland, Belfast, (15 August 2007)



"Northern Ireland has now had one hundred days of devolution. Prior to the last election, critics of my party claimed this would not be possible. The local administration has been able to have a positive early influence on a wide range of issues including the threat from Foot and Mouth disease, flash flooding, and attracting jobs and investment to the province. The decision of Aer Lingus to locate its UK hub at Belfast International Airport is a major endorsement of Northern Irelandís potential.

Unionists are more confident now that the Union is secure. Republicans have been forced to give up their weapons, end their terror campaign, support the rule of law and accept partition. Locally accountable government has been secured on a democratic basis with strong safeguards and full accountability. Building a successful Northern Ireland is our agenda for government while at all times ensuring that our Union with the United Kingdom is promoted and strengthened.

The DUP has already demonstrated our commitment to strengthening Northern Irelandís East-West links and we will continue to develop our relationships with the other administrations throughout the United Kingdom. As a result of DUP insistence the balance between East-West and North-South activity is being restored. For the first time ever a British-Irish Council summit was held in Northern Ireland.

We will work with the Republic of Ireland on matters of mutual concern but we will not tolerate any undermining of our constitutional position. In all our dealings with the Republic of Ireland, we will ensure an outcome that not only delivers for the people of Northern Ireland but recognises the reality that Northern Ireland remains an integral part of the United Kingdom. While it is to Northern Irelandís advantage to have good relations with the Irish Republic it needs to be emphasised that it is our relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom that is most important to our future economic wellbeing.

My colleagues and I will not shy away from difficult challenges but tackle them head on with confidence and commitment, as we continue to work hard in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland."


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