CAIN Web Service

Statement by Peter Robinson (DUP) following the Talks in St Andrews, Scotland, (16 October 2006)

[Key_Events] [Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
POLITICS: [Menu] [Reading] [Articles] [Government] [Political_Initiatives] [Political_Solutions] [Parties] [Elections] [Polls] [Sources] [Peace_Process]

Text: Peter Robinson ... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Statement by Peter Robinson, then Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), following the Talks in St Andrews, Scotland, (16 October 2006)


"The St Andrews agreement published on Friday is the government’s best assessment of how to make progress towards devolution. There remain matters to be further improved, defined and fine-tuned. There also are issues in the Agreement where we need clarity about how they are to be applied, realised or executed. Even after the remaining issues have been addressed the overall ultimate package, if approved, would be subject to performance – there must be full delivery on all commitments.

In the meantime the DUP will, one the one hand, consult widely within the unionist community and on the other hand continue to work-up, with the government, the remaining issues.

Without giving a view on the acceptability of the package until its final shape is known it is worth commenting on some of the irrational responses to the St Andrews Agreement. One fringe, maverick unionist politician has suggested that the St Andrews Agreement is worse than the Belfast Agreement while the rejected minority unionist party, the UUP, remarked that the new agreement was “the Belfast Agreement for slow learners” both positions are palpable nonsense. The people who make such statements only harm any vestige of credibility they retain. This kind of drivel comes only from those who are politically potty. Here are the comparative facts –

Those who negotiated the Belfast Agreement allowed republicans to enter government without giving up one gun or bullet.
The DUP required decommissioning of the IRA’s illegal weapons.
The Belfast Agreement allowed those who continued terrorist activity and criminality into government.
The DUP have forced republicans, kicking and screaming, down the road of ending paramilitary and criminal activity.
The Belfast Agreement destroyed the Royal Ulster Constabulary and decimated policing moral.
The St Andrews Agreement requires republicans to openly support the police.
The Belfast Agreement allowed terrorists found guilty in our Courts out of jail to escape the punishment set by the judiciary.
The St Andrews Agreement requires republicans to support the Rule of Law including the Courts and the judicial process.
The Belfast Agreement set up unaccountable all-Ireland bodies.
The St Andrews Agreement ensures all North/Southery is made accountable to Northern Ireland’s elected representatives.
The Belfast Agreement handed power to nationalist Assembly Ministers without them either being accountable or collectively responsible.
The St Andrews Agreement ensures no significant decisions can be taken without unionist approval.
There was no satisfactory Financial Package to aid Northern Ireland and devolution arising from the Belfast Agreement.
The St Andrews Agreement commits the government to a significant package.
The Belfast Agreement brought concessions to nationalists and ignored unionist needs.
The government at St Andrews has made commitments to provide greater fairness and equality for unionists.

In addition agreement have been reached with the government, consequent on moving forward, that decisions on Water Charging and the Review of Public Administration will be left to a new Executive and Northern Ireland Rates will be capped and academic selection will not be abolished.

This Agreement is immeasurably better than the lousy deal negotiated by the UUP in 1998. The DUP have secured more in 2006 than Reg Empey and his colleagues even asked for in 1998. In such a context it is little wonder that the UUP is attempting to associate itself with these proposals and pretend that what has been achieved is similar to the Belfast Agreement."


CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

go to the top of this page go to the top of this page
Last modified :