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Statement by Ian Paisley Outlining the Way Forward, (16 January 2006)

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

Statement by Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Outlining the Way Forward, (16 January 2006)


"The DUP has consistently held the view that local decisions should be taken by locally elected representatives. In our view devolution is still the best way forward and we will be striving to see progress made in the year ahead. However in our view, reflective of the unionist community, there is no prospect of an executive including Sinn Fein/IRA for the foreseeable future. In keeping with our manifesto commitments the DUP will not countenance an executive in Northern Ireland that is inclusive of those who are not committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.

Given that there is no prospect of an inclusively executive I informed the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State at the end of last year that we would consider alternative ways of moving forward in Northern Ireland and present them with a paper charting a way forward that would allow locally elected representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly to become more deeply involved in local issues.

We have now completed our work on the way ahead. At both our party officer and assembly group meetings today we unanimously agreed a sixteen page blueprint that is a realistic and achievable way of ensuring the foundation of good government for the people of Northern Ireland. The paper, "Facing Reality...The Best Way Forward" sets out what we believe is the only realistic hope of making progress. The proposals outline a system which provides for further building blocks when the foundations are firmly set and an enabling environment exists.

Our proposals paper will be presented to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister within the next few weeks. They are a truthful assessment of what is possible given the complete lack of trust in the political process at the present time. I again warn the government of the need to deliver, and be seen to deliver, for the unionist community. As we have said in the past there can only be real and tangible progress when a politically enabling environment is in existence. This must mean rapid action to deliver fairness and equality to unionists. Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State know what needs to be done in order to secure stable, effective, efficient and accountable government for the people of Northern Ireland.

The Democratic Unionist Party will play its part in making progress but only on the basis of what is realistic. We do not intend to give credibility to any process that is simply designed to bring into being an executive that includes those still committed to a paramilitary organisation and its furtherance of criminality."


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