Thursday, February 23, 2006


Decommissioning cover-up, says Paisley

Paisley needs to accept that decommissioning occurred There aren't many times when I read a serious news story and burst out laughing, but I did just that over this particular story.

DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley has accused the British government of being involved in a cover-up over the IRA’s final act of disarmament.

Dr Paisley made the claim after he was told by General John de Chastelain’s arms decommissioning body it would not produce any inventory of the Provisionals’ weapons until all other paramilitary groups had got rid of theirs.

"We have now a cover up," the North Antrim MP said.

"We have a cover up by the Government who actually are in the controlling seat and they have agreed evidently with the IRA that decommissioning is finished, the books were open, the books were sorted out and this question is now closed.

"The Government will not take any step to see that the whole truth comes out on this matter.

"So I would indict the Government of double standards. I would indict the (disarmament) commission for not pushing this thing and saying truthfully if we can’t do this job right, we are not going to stay any longer."

Fox Mulder himself
What excuse will he concoct next time?

Paisley called on MI5 and the PSNI to release publicly what they knew about decommissioning but the two nationalist parties have criticised Paisley's comments.

"On the one hand, Paisley says that he raised loyalist decommissioning with the IICD," said SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

"Then in the next breath he predicts sectarian warfare and gives them the excuse they need to hold on to their weapons."

"The IRA have dealt decisively with that issue and the DUP know this," said Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness.

"What today’s meeting is about is part of the DUP search for excuses not to engage.

"It is time that the DUP began to live up to their political responsibilities and began showing the sort of political leadership they promised to deliver.

"The time for excuses is over and the two governments need to make this clear to the DUP."

I agree with the SDLP and Sinn Féin. How long can the rest of us put up with Paisley's intransigence? It is simply excuse after excuse after excuse.

Paisley is frankly an embarrassment to unionism. With him at the helm, unionism is doomed. He will continue to antagonise the British and he will marginalise Ireland's north from the rest of the UK. Effectively, the North will end up with some form of Joint Authority and this will likely end up as a way for the British to try and offload the North altogether.

Unionists need to realise that they have to work together with nationalists. There is no other way. A recent survey of DUP members, which I posted on here, found that 39% of them would be willing to share power with other parties in the right context but a shocking 37% of them favoured Direct Rule even if the IRA destroyed every weapon, and, bizarrely, 24% had no opinion.

This leads me to believe that Paisley is pandering to the negative elements within his party who do not want devolution under any circumstances. The reality however is that this position is unacceptable.

The Irish and British governments need to make it quite clear to Paisley that devolution is going to happen and that this is not up for debate. Let Paisley and the rest of the DUP sulk and brood all they want. Let them dream up all the excuses they can muster.

Bottom line is, devolution is the north's solution. Now let's get it back.


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