Ian Paisley’s DUP vowed at the weekend to put the Good Friday Agreement “out of its misery”.
Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Belfast, Deputy leader Mr Peter Robinson, referring to Sinn Féin, said the party was “committed to ensuring there will be no Executive places for those who have not demonstrably left terrorism behind.”
“We will ready ourselves for the electoral tests ahead but we will still focus on the task of replacing the failed Belfast Agreement with a fair deal. The Belfast agreement lies discredited, impotent and wilted. It is barely alive enough to summon the strength to die. We will put it out of its misery.”
It was a triumphal conference for the DUP after November’s Assembly election gains which saw the party become the largest in the Six Counties.
The DUP number two was jubilant as he claimed the era of rival Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble was over.
Mr Donaldson, who defected from the DUP, a lso addressed a DUP conference for the first time. He urging the party faithful to do everything in their power to repel Sinn Féin electoral advances.
“It is important that unionists do not ignore what happened on the nationalist side during the election,`` he said.
“The scale of Sinn Féin’s victory over the SDLP was decisive and there are a number of other Assembly seats well within their grasp. They will be seeking to further assert their nationalist dominance by taking the SDLP`s seats in the European and Westminster elections. If Sinn Féin become the largest party in any election the case for a united Ireland will automatically be pursued with increased vigour.”
One of the key aims for the DUP is to stop the republican party’s candidate in the European election, Bairbre de Brun, who was described as a “witch”.
Ian Paisley attacked the Catholic hierarchy for what he claims is their lobbying of the British government on behalf of republicans.
His attack came after the head of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Sean Brady, made a speech criticising the pace of police reforms in the North Ireland.
Mr. Paisley said: “Now the Roman Church has been called in once again. The church sees the rise and renewal of resurrected traditional unionism as a menace to IRA/Sinn Féin, thus Archbishop Brady’s intervention.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams called on the DUP to move its politics into the 21st Century.
The Sinn Féin president said mixed messages were coming from the DUP, but they had to face the reality of Sinn Féin`s mandate.
“If Ian Paisley’s remarks mean that he does not accept the safeguards and protections built into the Good Friday Agreement, including the right of other parties to nominate a Deputy First Minister, he is in effect saying that the DUP does not want to be part of any political institutions.
“In our ongoing discussions with the two governments Sinn Féin has strongly urged them to establish whether they believe the DUP is serious about the political process.
“Mr Paisley obviously harks back to another era and the governments need to take this into account. The rest of us cannot wait until the DUP grasp the concept of equality.”