“To suggest such a thing misrepresents what motivates me”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Noel McAdam reports on the DUP leader, Ian Paisley’s comments at the Bannside DUP’s annual dinner at the weekend. The comments were also reported here, scroll down.There was a direct attack on his internal party, and some now external, critics.

“I am not on some selfish climb up the ladder of ambition, as some have said. To suggest such a thing misrepresents what motivates me,” he told party supporters in Ballymena, County Antrim.

“At nearly 81 years I do not need the spoils of office to satisfy me.”

..

He added: “Those who attack my leadership and the determination of this party and those who break rank in weakness or cowardice ought to recognise that by breaking us republicanism will win.”

As well as some comments directed at Sinn Féin..

He said: “They may not admit it, but it is a fact that today they have had to bow the knee to the Northern Ireland that they sought to destroy and accept that if they want a political role in it they must also accept the parameters of Ulster’s place in the Union.

“We must face up to the reality that many of the nationalist and republican community, despite what the IRA has done to the people of Northern Ireland, supported a party that was part and parcel of the horrors of the past.

“Yes, it is distasteful that such representatives are their voice, but what are we to do – bury our heads in the sand and hope they go away? Do we wait for another generation to emerge while our country goes down the drain?”

Ian Paisley also referenced the proposed Irish Language Act and suggested progress had been made on a default mechanism to exclude ministers without collapsing the Executive..

The North Antrim MP claimed any attempts to introduce new Irish language legislation would be vetoed.

“No Assembly the DUP leads will pass such an act,” he said.

“We have made significant progress on the matter of a default mechanism that has the support of the cabinet.”