Quick links to the main statements…

PAISLEY’S unprecendented speech is below the fold, for those who wish to read it in full. Ahern’s and Blair’s statements are here, while Adams’ is here.Full text of Ian Paisley’s statement

This is the full transcript of the statement delivered by the Reverend Ian Paisley at Stormont today:

“In 2003 the DUP became the largest political party in Northern Ireland and the last three and a half years has seen our strategy deliver very significant advances for the unionist people.

“Our goal has been to see devolution returned in a context where it can make a real and meaningful improvement in the lives of all the people of this part of the United Kingdom. On March 7, the unionist community gave us a mandate to deliver on this pledge.

“On Saturday the DUP Executive overwhelmingly endorsed a motion committing the party to support and participate fully in government in May of this year. This is a binding resolution.

“In the past the Government has set arbitrary deadlines but now, as laid out in our resolution, we, as a party, have agreed the timing, the setting- up and working of the institutions. Today, we have agreed with Sinn Fein that this date will be Tuesday May 8, 2007.

“As the largest party in Northern Ireland, we are committed to playing a full part in all the institutions and delivering the best future for the people of Northern Ireland.

“In the period before devolution we will participate fully with the other parties to the Executive in making full preparations for the restoration of devolution on May 8.

“This meeting represents an important step on the road to the setting-up of an Executive in six weeks` time. It has been a constructive engagement and we have agreed that in the weeks between now and the restoration of devolution on May 8 there is important preparatory work to be carried out so that local ministers can hit the ground running.

“This will include regular meetings between the future First and Deputy First Minister.

“The work must begin as quickly as possible and we have been considering a work programme to bring us to the agreed date for devolution which we are now asking the Government to legislate for.

“There is still vital work to be done to ensure the most favourable financial package possible is in place to allow devolution to succeed and prosper. To this end we have agreed with Sinn Fein to seek an early meeting with the Chancellor.

“In the next few days detailed work will begin, involving all of the Executive parties, to allow a programme for government to be finalised for the start of devolution. This will require regular meetings in the next few weeks.

“The two parties have already asked the Prime Minister to ensure that no water charge bills should be issued and the matter should be left for a local Executive to determine. We hope, trust and believe that the Secretary of State will listen to the voice of the people of Northern Ireland.

“After a long and difficult time in the province, I believe that enormous opportunities lie ahead for Northern Ireland.

“Devolution has never been an end in itself but is about making a positive difference to people`s lives. I want to make it clear that I am committed to delivering not only for those who voted for the DUP but for all the people of Northern Ireland.

“We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future.

“In looking to that future, we must never forget those who have suffered during the dark period from which we are, please God, emerging. We owe it to them to craft and build the best future possible and ensure there is genuine support for those who are still suffering.

“With hard work and a commitment to succeed, I believe we can lay the foundation for a better, peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.”

  • Sickbag

    “Hello, Herr Ribbentrop.” “Good to meet you at last, Mr Molotov.”

  • David

    Well, who would have believed it?

    Maybe it is time for the UUP/SDLP to be rethinking the “unofficial oppisition” option.

  • David

    …or even better the “unofficial opposition” option…

  • circles

    D’ya think when the met Adams said “Dr. Paisley I presume”?

  • circles

    And maybe Paisley replied:
    “Is that a gun in yer pocket Adams or are ya just glad to see me?”

  • Harris

    Would it have killed them to shake hands at the end of their speeches? I noticed Adams looking over at Paisley, more than willing to shake, but Paisley just looked the other way.

    Worse enemies have shaken hands for peace!

  • Yokel

    I’m really beginning to think that Bertie was largely sidelined on this one.

  • George

    Yokel,
    it would be in Sinn Féin’s shortterm interests if Bertie was or at least appeared to be in the eyes of the public.

    Sinn Féin know they aren’t going into government this election so a FF meltdown, especially in Dublin, could mean a couple of seats for them. Politics is a rough old game.

    Bertie will then be gone if he loses in May and who knows they can perhaps look to be kingmakers in 2011 with four years of an NI Assembly under their belts and a new FF leader hungry for power after 4 years on the opposition benches.

  • Worse enemies have shaken hands for peace!
    Harris

    Rabin and Arafat, White House lawn 1995 to name one such historic handshake !!

  • Yokel

    George

    Bertie strikes me as a fairly straightforward guy compared to the Tan Man. As a result I believe Bertie mean’t all that he said yesterday about deadlines whilst with Hain I have no idea. There was way too much choregography in retrospect and Bertie seemed a bit out of tune.

    I agree, this is one election to early for SF to be taken into a coalition, god knows there are far too many people determined to stop them. There is too much heat there still and it will take time. There are a lot of politicians south of the border who utterly hate Gerry and friends.

    I don’t think the DUP give a fiddlers for any boost to SF in the South at this time, they have got something they can point at to their own electorate just as SF have something to point at. What amazes me is how many people couldnt suss out why the six weeks timeframe. Its become increasingly clear that Blair was going after the UK elections in May, the timing it was a huge carrot and he bit on it.

  • joeCanuck

    I cannot believe how gullible some people are.
    This whole shenanigan is so obviously a hoax being perpetrated by the Securorats(sic) to save Blair’s and Hain’s faces.
    The only thing that will persuade me otherwise is a PHOTOGRAPH of Paisley and Adams shaking hands, or, as a bare minimum, a photo of the actual meeting with everyone smiling.

  • circles

    Yokel : Bertie strikes me as a fairly straightforward guy

    So I presume you’re overlooking the reommendation of his former boss, whose office he now occupies, when he warmly described Nice Guy Bertie as “the most skilful, the most devious, the most cunning of them all,”? (and the competition for that accolade is tough!!!)

  • circles

    check yer mail joe

  • joeCanuck

    LOL
    Well extracted Circles.
    Ta,

    joe

  • acatag

    Harris; because Paisley is a sectarian bigot when alls said and done; Adams isnt. That simple.