‘Not an inch’ - Paisley

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was pronounced dead at the party’s annual conference today as party leader Ian Paisley again declared “No surrender” and “Not an Inch”.

Wth the party due to head into talks on Monday with both governments, there were reports that the DUP is now demanding that the Provisional IRA disband before any agreement is reached.

Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson dismissed nationalist claims that the only way forward was through the Good Friday Agreement.

He told them: “Read my lips - the Belfast Agreement is dead.”

The DUP deputy leader said last Wednesday’s Independent Monitoring Commission report on paramilitary activity had shown that the IRA had still “a very long way to go”.

He insisted Sinn Féin was “seamlessly linked to paramilitary and criminal activity”.

He said 26-County Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush would not consider sharing power with Sinn Féin.

“Let me give them a clear message: don’t ask us to do something you would not do yourselves.”

He continued: “Without there being even a single IMC report suggesting the IRA has given up its illegal activities it is quite simply preposterous and outrageous to expect unionists to move.

“The (British) government should be ashamed of itself. Instead of piling pressure on republicans to make good their promises [British Direct Ruler] Peter Hain has been acting as chief apologist and spin doctor for the IRA.

“He has attempted to dilute the exposure of their wrongdoing and spin the areas where the IMC reported any positive change.”

Paisley was even more trenchant, comparing the British and Irish governments’ negotiating positions to Nazi propaganda.

He said the claim that IRA disarmament was complete was a “falsehood so blatant even Lord Haw Haw would have blushed to utter it”. He attacked General John de Chastelain’s decommissioning body, accusing it of preferring the word of the IRA and gardai to that of the PSNI.

He declared the inclusive power-sharing Executive envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement was finished, using a flourish of bibilical rhetoric.

“There will be no inclusive Executive with Sinn Féin as long as the IRA is in business and engaged in criminality,” he said.

“The day for the inclusive Executive on such a basis is over for ever. It is buried in a Sadducee’s grave from which there is no resurrection.

“That part of the agreement stinks in the grave, dug with spade of truth.”

Senior DUP officials told reporters this meant IRA disbandment was the party’s price for sitting in government with Sinn Féin.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News