Irish Republican News · July 2, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
DUP attacks Trimble after ‘scrap Stormont’ call

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble was today accused of trying to undermine efforts to restore the Belfast Assembly after calling for it to be scrapped if a deal to revive it is not reached it by September.

Peter Robinson, deputy leader of Ian Paisley’s DUP, launched s stinging attack on Mr Trimble during a visit to Harvard University in Boston.

Mr Robinson said: “Mr Trimble is a sad, twisted and bitter has been politician trying to create the conditions for collapse so that nobody else succeeds where he has failed. The DUP will not be knocked off course by the rejected UUP or bullied by republicans into a premature agreement in which the vital interests of unionists are not met.”

The East Belfast MP was responding to comments made by Mr Trimble at the Westminster parliament in London on Wednesday, welcoming a decision by the two governments to set a September deadline for agreement.

Trimble isnsited the deadline should not be “just another disposable target”. He called for “firm action” by London to “make it clear to the parties that have been dragging their feet over the last couple of years that the Government will move on, that it will close down the Assembly, that it will put in place alternative arrangements.”

Despite a flurry of exchanges between Mr Trimble’s UUP and the DUP, hostilities have again broken out, fuelled by the DUP’s stated determination to wipe out Mr Trimble’s party in the Westminster election next year.

Earlier this week, Mr Paisley rejected a call by Mr Trimble for the DUP to “come clean” on the shape of current negotiations.

Mr Trimble’s demand followed Mr Paisley’s statement that his party was beginnng to see the “faint outline” of a way forward after talks in London which involved three separate meetings with Tony Blair.

Mr Paisley said: “Mr Trimble is in no position to be calling on anyone to come clean when it is he who is the chief culprit for agreeing to secret deals with the Government and republicans, the details of which are yet to be made public.

“I have asked that the Ulster Unionist Party divulge to us the full details of their secret deal with Sinn Féin from last autumn so that we may have a better understanding of exactly what they gave away.

“They have prevaricated and procrastinated and put barricades in the way of a bilateral between our two parties. They don’t want us, and by extension, the people of Northern Ireland, to know what they agreed with Sinn Féin/IRA.”

Mr Trimble had offered to meet Mr Paisley “on a confidential basis”, but that meeting appears unlikely in the short term.

Meanwhole, the DUP was yesterday urged to talk directly to Sinn Féin by President Bush’s special envoy.

Dr Mitchell Reiss, who held talks with all the North’s parties, said it was essential for the two parties to meet each other across the negotiation table.

He made his appeal, which has angered the DUP, during a visit to County Tyrone, where he met members of the local District Policing Partnership.

Dr Reiss said it was his view that the three main issues impeding political progress were continuing paramilitary activity, the lack of full participation in policing and the DUP’s refusal to talk to Sinn Féin.

“I think it is essential that the DUP and Sinn Féin get around the table, and I have made this point to the DUP in all my meetings with them. If you have disagreements with somebody, the way you settle them is you sit down at the table, you talk face to face,” he said. “The way we like to do it in America is if you have got something to say you say it face to face,” he added.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News