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Statement by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the DUP, following the Politcal Talks at Lancaster House, London, 25 June 2004
Text: Ian Paisley ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn
Statement by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP),
following the Politcal Talks at Lancaster House, London, 25 June 2004
The DUP delegation raised the issue of the re-routing of the Whiterock parade with the Prime Minister. We expressed our total opposition to this decision and we believe it is harmful and inept. The decision does not recognise the sterling work that has been undertaken by the Orange Order to ensure a dignified and peaceful parade. Along with many others we have been working for a peaceful summer and we want to ensure that such work continues so that areas in Belfast and throughout the Province are free from the threat of violence. This kind of wrong-headed parades decision makes our task more difficult.
We have had a very useful exchange of views during the course of today. The party welcomes the opportunity that this stock-taking exercise affords to press our case for a fair deal in line with our mandate from the Unionist community. The DUP has outlined to the Government its position in relation to the current process. Both our own Government and the Government of the Irish Republic is aware of the work that has been conducted to date and the issues that remain to be resolved. Having received a renewed and strengthened mandate we are eager to make sound and steady progress towards stable, democratic institutions. Throughout the course of our meetings to date, the DUP has faithfully advocated the policies and principles outlined in our election commitments. We are determined to continue to push for the creation of structures that are stable, free from terror and grounded on solid democratic principles.
At every stage of this process our party has vigorously contributed to it in the pursuit of securing a fair deal. We have published two detailed policy papers and have responded to each and every request made of us by the government for position papers and contributions over a series of meetings. Not every party in this process has been as active and dedicated.
As a result of today’s engagement we have agreed a programme of work and look forward to providing the government with further position papers over the summer months. We believe it is possible to detect the faint outline and context of a way forward that would be agreeable to us, but while the component parts have been identified much work will be needed to resolve the significant differences that still exist.
The DUP is fully committed, consistent with its mandate, to continue serious engagement with the Government in order to move the negotiations forward. Our priority in this process remains the return of devolution on a basis that involves all parties working together on a level playing field that is exclusively peaceful and democratic. There can be no tolerance of terrorism. It is only on that basis that we can move forward.
Unionist confidence has continued to grow since last November. With the passing of each day more and more Unionists have come to realise that the analysis provided by the DUP is the only way to defend our traditional values and maintain our position within the United Kingdom. For the first time in many years Unionists are looking forward to the future with confidence.
We will continue to work diligently.