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Speech by Ian Paisley to DUP Annual Conference, 1995

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Text: Ian Paisley ... Page Compiled: Martin Melaugh

Text of a speech by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to the DUP's Annual Conference, in 1995.


"For such a time as this

One of the darkest hours in the history of the Jews had come. Haman, the would-be destroyer of the Jewish race, was in control. The die was cast. The irrevocable decision had been signed and sealed. The scene was set. The plans were perfected. The genocide date was announced and the sun in the heavens seemed to hasten to that dead hour. What could be done to reverse death's doom? How could the already perfected plan be undone? What hope was there that the nation could yet be saved? Could the irreversible be reversed?

Humanly speaking, there was but one faint hope. The Queen was a Jewish maiden. She could get the ear of the all-powerful Emperor but she was but a frail slip of a maiden and a very fail creature amidst the nest of vipers in the Royal Palace. Moreover, for some reason or other her royal husband had not sent for her for thirty days and to come into his presence unwanted meant death except he extended the golden sceptre to the intruder. Otherwise it would be instant death. Mordecai, her cousin, however, exhorted Esther in the following words:

"Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
(Esther 4:13-14).

Esther, conscious of the need of Divine Intervention called for intensive prayer then risked all: "if I perish," she cried "I perish", and as a result saved all.

The final word was both dramatic and dogmatic: "So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified." (Esther 7:10).

For such a time is this!

This is the time when our would-be destroyers have succeeded in arranging the future of our Province in such a way that we, the people of this Province, have no say whatsoever in the shaping of our own destiny. At every turn IRA/Sinn Fein are consulted and Unionists insulted. Blood-soaked murderers presiding over arsenals of terrorist weaponry are dictating the structures of the negotiating forum where the minority will have more seats than the majority and will set in concrete the final plan for the destruction of Ulster's position within this United Kingdom.

What is more, so weak-kneed, vacillating and dishonest is the British Government that the grater the concessions demanded by IRA/Sinn Fein, the more those will be placed in the category labelled "legitimate", while on the other hand the basic elements of democracy demanded by Unionists are immediately branded as illegitimate. In the new phraseology of the ceasefire habitat everything demanded by the murderers and their parrots backed by John Hume, Dublin, Clinton and the Vatican is reasonable. On the other hand, everything supporting the blatant denial of these demanded concessions is intransigent.

A jaundiced view is taken of any proposal which would call this Province back to sanity, lawfulness and answerable democracy. The proposed talks are founded on a democratic deficit to construct an even greater democratic deficit.

With every fresh meeting with IRA/Sinn Fein, with every new twist in the much-worked-over formula of the Civil Service communications, with every new ingredient added to the politicians' double-talk there is one message that rings out loud and clear to the murder gangsters, their cohorts and fellow travellers, and that is: "Violence pays. Your bombs are stronger than the Unionist ballot boxes. Your bullets are more influential than votes and your battalions of gunmen more beneficial than elections won. You lost the West Belfast seat but you have gained more than if you had ten seats in Westminster." Is it any wonder that the IRA will not yield a single weapon or surrender one ounce of Semtex? If they did so they would speedily become like John Bunyan's giant, a toothless monster who can only grin at his opponents and bite his nails because he cannot come at them.

To disarm the IRA is to destroy them, but that the British Government is too craven to contemplate. They are prepared to take the more convenient alternative - destroy the Unionists; after all, we have "no economic, strategic or selfish interest in Northern Ireland". I must warn them today that this alternative which they seem hellbent in pursuing, they will discover to their great loss, is no easy option whatsoever.

The spirit which inspired our forefathers to refuse to bow the knee to the enemies of liberty still burns in the breast of their sons and daughters. Its recent bursting into flame in Drumcree should be a warning to the Government and those who hound them on to neuter the Union that the last word will not be spoken by Whitehall Government but by the men and women of Ulster themselves. At the Somme it was rightly said that the men of Ulster were lions but the English officers directing the battle were asses.

When the English asses are dismissed from the negotiations and Ulster men and women take charge, then and then alone will democratic progress be made.

An Ulster Forum to settle the Ulster question is the need of the hour

That Constitutional Assembly or Constitutional Forum must be free standing, having power to negotiate for those who have mandated its members.

It cannot be the puppet of London, Dublin or Washington.

The two Governments are running scared of the proposal first put to the British Government by this Party and shot down then by Ken Maginness and the Official Unionists as a "sectarian caucus". They have been busy stealing our political clothes since Mr Trimble's election to their leadership.

The so-called Building Blocks proposal uncovers the two Governments' plan to rewrite the whole value of such a Convention by placing it under the dictatorial control of London/Dublin. Here we have joint authority with vengeance.

The Building Blocks proposal was conveyed to me in a letter from Paddy Mayhew. He said the proposal would set out the "essential elements of the twin-track approach, covering both the role of an international body in relation to decommissioning and preparatory talks to discuss the ground rules for all-Party negotiations."

The proposal gives a place of prominence to the Dublin Government in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland. There is no mention of democratic consent within the proposal whatsoever. It is littered with numerous references to what the "two Governments" have planned for us. The DUP does not recognise the authority of the Dublin Government in relation to Northern Ireland and will not be packaged and processed in any arrangement set up under joint authority.

The Government had better learn the lesson that the Building Blocks of joint authority have been ejected. The foundation for that process is unsafe and unsatisfactory. It is a building condemned from the beginning. It will never be erected. It is an abandoned and doomed site. What is more, the Prime Minister's new proposal to John Bruton is that there can be no such Constitutional Assembly except it is agreed by Sinn Fein, the SDLP Dublin and the White House. The Assembly can only be given to the Ulster people by the patronage of our would-be destroyers.

I am invited by the Government to a twin-track negotiation structure where I talk to IRA/Sinn Fein, Dublin, and the SDLP while the IRA pressurises the outcome of such talks with the threat of the use of their arsenal of murder weapons.

My answer to that proposal is no. "No" unconditionally "No" emphatically and "No Surrender" finally.

There can be no more tinkering with the democratic process. There must be a return to basic democratic principles. The question must be put to the people. It must be put NOW.

The legislation is in place. A stroke of Patrick Mayhew's pen and we could have elections inside a month. This is urgent. This is imperative. It must be done.

We Unionists have been lectured long enough by John Hume of being afraid of facing the Dublin Government. We did face them in the last Talks and they did not like it so they closed them down - cowards that they are.

Mr Hume is afraid of democracy. He can only debate in a forum where the numbers are rigged and the voting weighted undemocratically in his favour. I have not forgotten what he said at the last Talks: "We will not have a Unionist majority Assembly ever again at Stormont."

That is why the new negotiation chamber was constructed without consultation in the Stormont estate with eight seats for the Unionists and 20 seats to the Republicans and Nationalists and their fellow travellers.

This is the nature of the gauntlet thrown down by our enemies. Its challenge is: "When you in the majority agree to be treated as a minority then we will meet you and tell you what we have decided your future to be."

The twin-track carriages stand at the Stormont Station, each at a separate platform; the first, the decommissioning carriage and the second the political peace carriage. The twin-track, shortly after leaving Belfast for Dublin, merges and both carriages are linked together. Under the supervision of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, shotgun riders employed for the protection and comfort of all, the passengers from the second carriage are all transferred to the first. So much for the twin-track and the twin-carriages. The empty carriage is then abandoned before the border is reached! One, Ancram, is ticket collector while big Pat is acting guard with a not-so-well-known bearded assistant. All passengers must purchase single tickets only; no return tickets are issued.

Before the train arrives in Dublin the entire passenger group resolved with IRA guns to their heads that the so-called decommission group be disbanded. The good work of Adams and McGuinness must thus be suitably re-warded. The resolution was on the proposal of John Hume, seconded by the not-so-well-known bearded assistant. It was not put to the vote because consensus was evident on the faces of all with the guns to their head.

The train came into the Dublin Station renamed - the "End of the Union Station".

This Party will buy no single ticket to Dublin from Ancram. It will not ride under the guns of the IRA, and into the End of the Union Station it will never come.

Twin-track is nothing less than side-track on endeavours to take the focus of the IRA arms and their murderous intent.

What of the so-called peace dividend?

We hear so much from the Government about the benefits the phoney peace has bought to our country. One could be forgiven for believing we are living in Utopia where all is well. The fact is, all is not well.

The Government is keen to promote a mood of normality A week does not go by without another glossy folder produced about the peace process apparently yielding more benefits to the people of Northern Ireland. There is much talk about the 'peace dividend'.

Many people would be only too glad to welcome good news. However this Government has a long way to go before it will convince me that all is well.

Our economy is not soaring, the unemployed are not checking in for new jobs, the promised investment is yet to be realised.

I would caution the Government about the folly of taking up an economic peace dividend that has not arrived; and for as long as the terrorists remain capable of violence there will be no peace dividend.

Many of my constituents hear about the peace packages, read about the new jobs but have not experienced one single tangible benefit from the so-called peace dividend. In fact many in the private security sector have been laid off as a result of the ceasefire, while other jobs are at risk.

It gets a bit sickening to hear about all the promised new jobs which the IDB repeat with their promotions week in and week out in the run up to Clinton's visit. None of these jobs have been realised. In fact the most recent promotion of 1000 new jobs at Montupét are only proposals that will not be in place until the year 2003. Montupét has still to realise its original job creation projection of 900 new jobs. It currently has a work force of 500.

For every job promotion over the past 14 months by the Government and its agencies there has been at least one actual job lost, be it in redundancies or in lay offs. It becomes rather insulting to be told about all these new opportunities when none are actually available. The Government would be better focusing its attention on developing local enterprises, developing schemes for the rural economy and assisting local manufacturing industries rather than hyping up fly-by-night investment opportunities which do not deliver long term employment and have so far made little impact on the long-term unemployment figures. It is into such schemes as I have mentioned that the EEC money should go. It was intended for those who suffered, not for those who caused the suffering. There is a grave danger of its being hijacked.

The Tenth Annual Economic and Business Review for Northern Ireland states that many of the post-ceasefire economic out-turns announced in the past year were, "in the pipeline and not determined by the aftermath of the ceasefire. In truth apart from the sustained rise in local house prices and the expected surge in tourism, the peace has yet to provide a clear economic dividend."

Let's now turn to this so-called peace process. Are we to be lulled into a false sense of security by the Secretary of State? Will we permit Ulster to be chloroformed into accepting the peace is a real peace? It is not peace. It is a phoney peace held in place by concessions to those most capable of breaking the peace. It is neither honourable, just, permanent, nor reasonable. It is a surrender process which we must resist.

Even Sinn Fein/IRA refuse to say there is a peace process, and they would know! The concessions have been non-stop to them but they refuse to make peace until they have won the surrender of Ulster. The release of terrorist prisoners is but a foretaste of what will be delivered to the IRA. The British Government has embarked upon a policy of the most cunning evil to deprive the people of Northern Ireland of their British rights, heritage and way of life. Anyone who believes that the current process offers a roadway to a permanent peace is deluded. Look at the hoax peace process:

  • - A postal worker lies murdered and they have the audacity to call it peace;
  • - over £1 Million stolen by the IRA in armed robberies and they have the cheek to call it peace;
  • - three gruesome IRA punishment beatings every week of the ceasefire and they have the effrontery to call it peace;
  • - over 60 Orange Halls and Protestant churches up in flames courtesy of the IRA and they dare to call it peace;
  • - over 360 petrol bombs thrown at the police and they call it peace;
  • - over 700 buses attacked in the last 14 months and they call it peace;
  • - the discovery of two massive bombs on the South Armagh border and they have the brass neck to call it peace;
  • - the release of 88 terrorist prisoners and they call it peace;
  • - over 100 military concessions to thee IRA in spite of the violence and they have the arrogance to call it peace.

This is not a peace. This is a shameful process of deluding the people while they surrender to the IRA.

I have in my hand the glossy prospectus of a new company expert in gerry-building and producers of building blocks. The company is already bankrupt and presides over unemployment which increases every day. Its plan is the execution of a policy of those who would destroy any real structures of lasting, just or honourable peace in Northern Ireland. The booklet "Building on the Peace" is a shamefaced attempt to sell the peace process, marketed in glossy pictures to the public, hoping nobody pulls back the wrapping to expose the truth. You cannot build without a sure foundation and there is no foundation to the peace process. There is an urgent need, as the pan-Nationalist front cements itself together in apology for IRA guns, bombs and murder weapons, for the Unionist family to unite.

I am glad my efforts though often thwarted and reviled for a United Unionist Convention succeeded and that that Convention is a reality.

The Convention itself consists of the Unionist Family with but one absentee, the Official Unionists. The Convention in a recent statement said:

"The Convention is the umbrella body which set up the 14-member Unionist Commission earlier this year and charged it with the task of analysing public submissions on the Framework Document and formulating a democratic alternative acceptable to the people of Northern Ireland. The Convention was formed from delegates from the DUP, the UPUP, the Orange and Independent Orange Orders, the Apprentice Boys, the USCA, the Knights of Malta and the business and professional people for the Union.

"All groups unanimously rededicated themselves to the goal of Unionist unity and the principles of traditional Unionism, and made an impassioned plea to all Unionists to come together at this time of grave crisis in the history of our Province.

"They deplored the fact that the UUP, which had hitherto half-heartedly sent two representatives to the Convention in an observer capacity, had this week issued an official letter advising its members not to establish any formal links with either the Convention or the Commission. Such a decision was incomprehensible in the gravity of the situation and once again demonstrated the UUP's familiar principle of acting in its own interests by putting party before people. The meeting expressed grave regret that a handful of UUP officers had independently passed this resolution contrary to the interests of Unionism and to the UUP leader's stated dedication to Unionist unity"

The Unionist unity demonstrated recently in Westminster at the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Diktat, should be replicated speedily by the Official Unionists joining the other members of the Unionist family in united defence of the Union.

A pan-Unionist front is surely needed now as never before.

If the Official Unionists can talk with Dublin, why can't they join in closer family talks with their fellow Unionists? For such a time as this!

A time when fair is foul and foul is fair. A time when men call good evil and evil good. A time when the murderers are honoured and the murdered dishonoured. A time when the faithless are eulogised and the faithful are ostracised. A time when the prisoners are consistently released and their victims conveniently forgotten. A time when darkness is put for light and light for darkness. A time when hell is put for heaven and heaven is put for hell.

For such a time as this!

We should make it a repenting time. Our own sins and our national sins need to be repented of. We need to return to the God of our fathers.

These words of the Holy Book are appropriate: "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Jeremiah 6:16.

For such a time as this!

We should make it a resolving time.

We must resolve that we will not barter our liberties or sell our Protestant birthright. It costs too much. It is too valuable to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

I have no intention of surrendering. Have you?

I have no intention of accepting any bribe. Have you?

I have no intention of insulting the memory of Ulster's honoured dead. Have you?

I have no intention of going back on my resolve to keep Ulster from Dublin rule. Have you?

I have no intention of lowering the Union Flag. Have you?

I have no intention to stop singing the National Anthem. Have you?

That being so I use the words of our founding father Lord Carson of Duncairn and I say to the Government:

"By no law can the right to govern those whom we represent be bartered away without consent. You may betray us but you will not deliver us bound into the hands of our enemies."

We will defend and retain our liberties.

God save Ulster."


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