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Statement by Reg Empey, then Deputy Leader of the UUP, 22 September 2004

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Text: Reg Empey ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Reg Empey, then deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 22 September 2004


"These talks are focused on making the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive work better and more effectively. We are actively engaged in trying to bring this about.

Strand 1

"There is a focus on accountability. The UUP is in favour of improving accountability and presented a paper to HMG in April 2004 setting out some of our proposals for improvements.

Strand 2

"There is a lot of waffle being circulated by some parties that North South bodies were totally un-accountable. We will shortly be presenting you with a paper that sets out the present safeguards and accountability procedures that are far reaching and provide genuine safeguards for unionists. These can be improved upon, and we want to see further measures to strengthen this accountability, and have advised the government accordingly.

There are those who are using accountability as a smokescreen for short-term political cover.

This is dangerous. Many of the proposed changes are technical, and can be lost on most people. Indeed some of the proposers of these changes donīt seem to have a grasp of the implications. In plain English some are ill-though out, politically naïve and politically damaging to the Unionist position. We will support changes that genuinely improve accountability, but will not support those changes that are bogus or misconceived.

DUP on Agreement Fundamentals

In addition the DUP Deputy-Leader told the media yesterday "We had agreed with the Government that the fundamentals of the Belfast Agreement that they outlined were consistent with the fundamentals that the DUP had put forward for a way forward". This is an amazing statement and begs the question what on earth have the last 6 years of turmoil within unionism been all about? This is a seismic shift in position from what the DUP told electorate prior to, during and immediately after the Assembly Election. We never heard any statement from the DUP that indicated any consistency between the Agreement and the DUP position. I thought that they were pledged to ītear it up and destroy it."


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