Irish Republican News · October 20, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
New tranche of DUP demands expected

The DUP has revealed it plans a second series of demands before it considers whether it will share power with Sinn Féin.

Deputy leader Peter Robinson says even if they are satisfied the Provisional IRA has ended all activity, this on its own will not be enough.

His party released a 64-page list of demands today [Thursday] and promised another shortly.

Unionists are seeking legislation for Orange Order parades and the retention of the locally recruited Royal Irish Regiment.

Mr Robinson said if their needs are not in some way met, there will be no real progress in the political situation in the North.

Ian Paisley’s deputy declared that without “an enabling environment” -- fulfilment of the demands -- his party saw no progress. Without irony, he said: “Having witnessed a decade of concessions to the IRA, it is not unreasonable that unionists should want to see the scales balanced.”

He also warned that time would be needed for a decision to be made regarding the IRA’s position on ending all activity and decommissioning.

“The IRA took 11 years from its first ceasefire to get to where it is at today,” he added. “We will not be rushed into judging whether or not they are for real.”

He said his party would not be told what to do by London or Dublin. “We will make our own judgments. We will not be taking people at their word or taking risks with democracy in Northern Ireland. Decisions on the validity of the IRA’s position cannot and will not be made overnight.”

Mr Robinson said “even the Independent Monitoring Commission” accepted that a few months were no basis on which to assess the bona fides of republicans.

“The IRA has proved in the past that it can turn on and off its paramilitary activity to suit its own purposes. Only time can establish if things are different this time around.”

Criticising the Blair government, he said: “On this issue the government’s approach has further diminished confidence in the unionist community. Despite accepting back in July that the IRA would have to be judged over a period of time, it has proceeded to act on the basis of the word of the IRA.”

If the IMC was not in a position to make a definitive judgment on the IRA, how then could Northern Secretary Peter Hain opt to reinstate parliamentary allowances to Sinn Féin, he asked.

On the decision to abolish the Home Battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, Mr Robinson said that those who had risked their lives to protect the people of Northern Ireland should be treated with the respect they deserve.

Regarding Orange marches, he further said that the government response to DUP proposals for dealing with parades would be “a priority for the party in its considerations”.

“If the government want to see political progress they know what they have to do on these and the other issues we have raised,” Mr Robinson added.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News