Unionism to come under pressure to respond

Whilst there’s a party atmosphere in Republican west Belfast, there is a strong feeling that the ball is now in the court of the Unionists, not least the DUP. The party’s ‘hard man’ Ian Paisley Junior is leading much of the party’s public countermoves at the moment. He characterises the IRA’s move as phoney decommissioning, and prepares his team for the public and private pressure which is likely to follow:

From Ian Paisley Junior:

Speaking Mr Paisley said, “In the coming days and weeks the resolve of the Unionist people will be tested as never before. Efforts are no afoot to see to it that another act of phoney decommissioning takes place so as the government can insist on establishing a devolved assembly that includes Sinn Fein/IRA in the government of Northern Ireland.

The government, Dublin and Washington must be left with a clear and certain understanding that unionism is resolved to resist having a government made up of bombers, murderers, gangsters, bank robbers or fugitives.

There can be no uncertainty on this. No wavering can be permitted. No mixed messages or ifs and buts allowed. Unionism is mandated to stand united and determined that only democracy can and will prevail.

Last year the DUP laid the foundation for a settlement that would have lasting and certain features. If republicans want to be part of the institutions of the country they must become democratic. They must renounce violence, and eschew all criminal activity. Their words would not be the talisman of their condition rather their actions would be the benchmark by which unionists would judge them.

We have made it clear that we would hold the Prime Minister to his undertaking that unionists would have to be satisfied that the IRA weapons have been destroyed and their structures dismantled and their terror army disbanded. That is why we sought a mechanism to verify in an open, transparent and convincing manner that decommissioning has occurred.

Sinn Fein shunned that effort. Dismissed because republicans claimed it would “humiliate” them. Well in my book IRA murderers need a taste of humility!

They dodged the great and searching question, are they sincere about giving up terrorism and criminality and walking a path of democracy?

They cannot duck and dive that question any longer. The sincerity test has arrived. Sinn Fein/IRA’s sincerity will be judged on how they deal with this matter. The course they have currently chosen is without credibility or standing and will result in unionism dismissing it.

They have demonstrated that they are not interested in convincing unionists of their alleged peaceful intent or of anything approaching sincerity.

• They hold on to the £26 million stolen from the Northern Bank.
• They refuse to hand over killers and rapists from their community.
• They oppose the lawful police and courts system.
• And they are engaged in a so-called decommissioning process that is in secret, without credibility and with no prospect of convincing unionists that all their weapons are destroyed, the IRA disbanded and the criminal empire forsaken.

They think unionists must spare their blushes on the issue of the destruction of terrorism and terror weapons. We will do no such thing!

It is in the interest of democracy for law and order to prevail over terror and chaos I am convinced that only the DUP has both the calibre and resolve to stand up where others have collapsed. But make no mistake about it the pressure will be on at even the slightest suggestion that the IRA has got rid of a bullet case let alone its murder arsenal.

I give this warning to our community that the unionist that forgets the past is destined to repeat the mistakes of David Trimble.

He took Sinn Fein at its word. He gave them not one but three chances in government only to destroy himself and is party. Unionists have no more chances top distribute. The DUP cannot and must not get it wrong on any occasion.

That is why we are determined to do the right thing no matter how long the course we must walk.

Lets face up to it; there is no appetite for a devolved government with Sinn Fein. The Secretary of State knows this to be the case. Unionists know that direct rule offers a less than satisfactory form of government. We want to take decisions that affect the interest of our people but the price of an unreconstructed, terror machine at the heart of government is too high for any democrat to contemplate.

The ball is not in our court. We will live with direct rule; the ball is in the court of others.

The Government cannot ignore us. They have seen in recent days the vacuum they helped to create if they ignore the elected representatives of unionism. The government must do more than have initiatives and honeyed words they must take action on the issues we have put before them.

Sinn Fein/IRA know that they cannot bluff the DUP. Appealing over our heads to Blair, Ahern or Bush cuts no ice with us. Only our people can pressurise us. That is why unionists must stand firm and determined to resist pressure. After all we can only walk a path we are willing to walk.

Sinn Fein/IRA has an opportunity to pass the sincerity test. They can decommission in secret and convince no one of its credibility. Or they can decommission transparently, disband their army, dismantle the criminal empire and give up the proceeds of crime in a way that will expose their evil but will bring it to an end.

Their unwillingness to be open and honest will be the breaking point of any decommissioning process.

The government has a clear duty to recognise that unionists have rights. We have in front of this government matters that they could implement that would demonstrate that they are listening and acting. More importantly the Secretary of State has the power to move on without any more time wasting waiting on the IRA. He can tell the other parties that a better way forward is by those parties moving on without the IRA. Has the SDLP the leadership qualities to jettison the front men of the IRA?

Has the government the will to recognise that the Belfast Agreement is dead and it is now time to move on.”

108 thoughts on “Unionism to come under pressure to respond”

  1. So we are talking democracy. SF have never won an electoral mandate in Ireland. Even in 1918 when there was widespread fraud and intimidation SF came nowhere 50% of the vote. There is every good chance that a DUP, SDLP and Alliance coalition could come out of this.

    SF have a long way to go before they can become ministers in Her Majestys Government at Stormont. I doubt it will ever happy.

    Anyway how can a party like SF be trusted?. They tore up every policy they once had. By entering Stormont in 1998 they recognised Northern Ireland. What total hypocrites.

  2. Hello –

    I’m doing a research project on the troubles and I have had quite a bit of anecdotal information indicating that the RUC/Brits succeeded in intercepting major bombing attempts by extracting info from provo/loyalist suspects in custody who knew about the bomb’s whereabouts – sometimes with only hours to spare. Civilians were cleared from these areas prior to these explosions.

    If you know of 2 to 3 such incidents, would you be good enough to tell me where they happened and a rough date, so that I can cross-reference on Google and obtain more in-depth info.

    Thanks very much!

  3. Denny Boy

    When did Paisley decommission his Third Force? Any witnesses, (genuine) churchmen or otherwise?

    He didn’t decommision ‘his’ TF but instead cut all links with it.

    As far as I’m concerned, this shadowy group is as active as it ever was, and we saw it in action before, during and after the Whiterock violence.

    Hmm ya sure? I didn’t here Gerry calling for Paisleys arrest… so who alls in it these days…. 13 yr olds don’t count.

    Therefore, until I see signs that Paisley and crew have opted for democratic means, he and his party will remain for me DUP/TF.

    Lol. So you’re saying Papa doc and Robinson are still secretly leaders of a well armed terrorist organisation?

    Brain Boru

    Unless you are calling him a liar of course, for which is there is no basis

    Im doing no such thing for I have no idea whether there has been some or not, the point is the RA are still armed up to their necks in AK’s and semtex etc. Who knows how much more weaponry they have gained since the last act of decommissioning

    What were the specific allegations regarding Sean Kelly?

    The reason, whether you like it or not!

    Heck

    I would like to think that this means the unionist politicians will have the GFA up and running again next week

    Id like to think so too but some how it’s unlikely.

    I have come to the conclusion that IRA arms were never the issue just an excuse

    So Davy Trimble went to all that trouble knowing that he would stop it all after a while just because he doesn’t like Catholics… Wise up!

    That last election convinced me that the unionist community just doesn’t accept nationalists as equals and will not want them in government.

    The last election convinced me that the majority of Unionists now distrust SF/IRA more than ever, unfortunately the UUP lost votes when the IRA/SF failed to deliver what they promised.

    Comrade Stalin

    List some changes in unionism
    It has become more tolerant… post GFA. They now recognise that it is in everyone’s benefit if they share power with democratic parties.

    Do you think we are likely to see any action on this front ?

    Id like to think so but realistically what power or influence do the DUP have in regards to the UVF or UDA… probably as little as Davy Ervine now has.

    Is there an acceptable degree to which parties such as the DUP may flirt with armed movements or associate with armed organizations ?

    No. But I am talking before 1994. Comparing Paisley and his role in the UR and Gerry’s role in PIRA is like comparing a flea to a Lion.

    The links it maintains with paramilitarism, with seats on the Loyalist Commission and a long history of indirect association with armed loyalist groups.

    But come on… being a member of a group that is trying to help generally sound minded law abiding discriminated Protestants is hardly the same as the 2 main men in SF also being the 2 main men in PIRA. Are you honestly saying the UUP are undemocratic due to the links it had with the 1912 UVF… the British Government weren’t complaining when they were being sent out in their thousands at the Somme.

    Reg Empey justified the recent rioting on the basis that unionists were being ignored

    I doubt he was justifying it but instead trying to give reporters the view of the loyalists/unionists concerned.

    It’s very convenient how unionists decide when it’s okay to talk to paramilitaries and when it is not, don’t you think ?

    Well say what you want but sitting on parades forum with a few local UVF men in an attempt to help the local community is different than sitting in Govt with men like Marty in charge of our youth’s education….

    See Belfat City Council or Larne council as a case in point where loyalists have been promoted into positions of power through the votes of unionist politicians.

    Well just to clarify this: these loyalists are they loyalist paramilitaries or just locals who like to call them loyalist such as some Catholics call themselves Republican.

    If those changes had not taken place it is logical to assume they would not be rioting.

    Change the word ‘changes’ to concessions to terrorists, then your point of view might then change

    Unionists have not had an actual say in their own politics since 1972.

    They’ve got even less say now.

    It is likely that this will now be achieved,

    Only time will tell, here is a question: when it is talked about decommissioning are they referring to the Northern PIRA or the whole Islands PIRA? Would it not be slightly difficult to monitor decommissioning in the republic?

  4. No. as republicans engaged in a sectarian terrorist campaign against fellow irishmen they were hypocrites, now they are just revolutionaries and opportunists intent on preventing normalisation in Northern Ireland. The DUP do not counter this strategy, they complement it, aided by their sectarian gangster friends. Maybe Paisleyism is just another local martyrdom operation, sacrificing the available political rewards of this world for the promise of extreme pleasures in the next. Dark chocolate biscuits with darjeeling tea, anyone?

  5. Anyway how can a party like SF be trusted?. They tore up every policy they once had. By entering Stormont in 1998 they recognised Northern Ireland. What total hypocrites.

    Posted by: ulsterman at September 25, 2005 08:12 PM

    Surely you mean the DUP

  6. It has become more tolerant… post GFA. They now recognise that it is in everyone’s benefit if they share power with democratic parties.

    Provide evidence to support this assertion either in terms of unionism’s “tolerance” (?) or of unionism’s support for power sharing – I know of none.

    Id like to think so but realistically what power or influence do the DUP have in regards to the UVF or UDA… probably as little as Davy Ervine now has.

    I’d like to think that Paisley has influence over himself not to hold talks or create alliances with paramilitary groups. Wouldn’t you agree ?

    No. But I am talking before 1994. Comparing Paisley and his role in the UR and Gerry’s role in PIRA is like comparing a flea to a Lion.

    Gerry Adams supported the use of violence and encouraged others to use it. Ian Paisley supported at the very least the use of the threat of violence – try asking him to condemn the UWC strike – and encouraged others to use it. What’s the difference ?

    But come on… being a member of a group that is trying to help generally sound minded law abiding discriminated Protestants

    Is that the best justification you can come up with for elected representatives to talk to unelected murdering paramilitaries ?

    Are you honestly saying the UUP are undemocratic due to the links it had with the 1912 UVF

    No, I’m saying the UUP is undemocratic due to it’s modern-day links with loyalist paramilitarism including the UVF and the UDA.

    I doubt he was justifying it but instead trying to give reporters the view of the loyalists/unionists concerned.

    Isn’t it easier just to condemn it ?

    Well say what you want but sitting on parades forum with a few local UVF men in an attempt to help the local community is different than sitting in Govt with men like Marty in charge of our youth’s education….

    Explain to me how talking with active drug dealing terrorists helps the community. Who benefits ?

    Well just to clarify this: these loyalists are they loyalist paramilitaries or just locals who like to call them loyalist such as some Catholics call themselves Republican.

    You tell me. Hugh Smyth was Mayor and then deputy Mayor; Frank McCoubrey was deputy Mayor. As far as I’m aware they’re both loyalists. Smyth is linked to the UVF, McCoubrey is linked to the UDA. Their associations are pretty well known. Smyth was elected as Mayor in a year where there was no UVF ceasefire and no decommissioning. The DUP abstained during the vote and notably did not seem to have a problem serving on council with him. Mysteriously, they walked out of the council whenever Maskey was elected to the same position.

    Change the word ‘changes’ to concessions to terrorists, then your point of view might then change

    I’ll answer this one with a question. Northern Ireland is still in the union. The loyalist paramilitaries demand that Northern Ireland is still in the union. Therefore, is the ongoing existence of the union a concession to loyalist terrorists ? Or is it in recognition of a democratic vote and the will of the people ?

    Only time will tell, here is a question: when it is talked about decommissioning are they referring to the Northern PIRA or the whole Islands PIRA? Would it not be slightly difficult to monitor decommissioning in the republic?

    When the IRA says it is disarming, I assume it means the whole organization. Further, full decommissioning can never be completely proven unless you trust the IRA’s own assessment of it’s inventory – which I would not expect people to do. Unfortunately, all we can do is take the situation on faith.

    Given the close association with criminality that organization has, I’m sure there are ex-members of it who will continue to engage in criminality, intimidation and local law enforcement. The important thing to me would be that SF unequivocally condemn such activity and will support the community working with the authorities to get it stopped. I have nothing more than the same expectations from unionism, but given that unionism seems to prefer justifying loyalist violence rather than condemning it, I am not sure how we are going to get that.

    Denny Boy, you may not have been referring to me, but I object hugely to unionism’s dalliances with armed groups and their denial of same. I’m not a nationalist, I don’t mind the union too much. My main concerns are to do with peace, prosperity and stability. The main obstruction to those at the minute flows from sectarianism and tribalism, and secondarily the ongoing activity of armed groups. I’m personally quite satisfied that the IRA intends to leave the scene. I am not satisfied that the UVF and UDA intend to leave the scene, but worse, I am not satisfied that democratically elected unionist politicians are particularly keen to see those organizations leave the scene.

    ulsterman, I know you’re a troll, but now that the IRA will likely appear to have satisfactorily disarmed, there is no further reason to excl

  7. Comrade Stalin, the problem (as I believe you recognized in an old post somewhere) is that NI has never known democracy. That brief period when the Assembly was up if not running wasn’t half long enough to familiarize all in Stormont with the democratic system.

    So if NI wishes to learn how it’s actually done, one must look either to Britain or to Dublin. Personally I’d welcome an adoption of Irish democracy, since the British model led to trouble in the island of Ireland in the first place. It also seems to me that the retention of the ludicrous House of Windsor calls the British model into question.

    I hate to be pessimistic but can’t see unionists adopting true democracy in anything like short order; old habits die hard and in Ulster they die harder than anywhere else. The problem is that even the young unionists seem to have picked up the same bad habits that led to 35 years of bloodshed.

    Such scatomas will have to disappear before the nationalist people can trust the “new” unionists to behave better than their predecessors, ie the men of Stormont old style.

  8. FYU,

    “Its sort of ironic don’t you think that Blair has a whole big agenda about freeing countries from terrorism and undemocratic rule while just right next door is dying to get people who blew up his own British soil for the last 30 years right into Government”

    I don’t really care what Blairs agenda is but it would appear he would like to move forward and attempt to remedy some of the problems that have existed here for decades. It’s sad that unionists don’t want to participate.
    Who are the DUPes going to blame this time when they refuse to negotiate or participate in talks? It’s their ‘watch’ and they are already priming the excuses. Sammy the stripper on the politics show yesterday was evidence for that. No matter what SF do it will never be enough for them.

    As for a lot of your other posts you seem to demand understanding from other posters regarding your opinion on the difference between DUP/TF/UR and SF and the IRA. In your world it would seem some animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

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