DUP accuses Britain of 'surrender to IRA'

 

The Democratic Unionist Party today warned the Government it would pay a high price for its programme of demilitarisation in Northern Ireland.

The Reverend Ian Paisley accused ministers of rushing key security decisions in the North just days after the IRA announced it was to decommission its weapons.

The DUP leader confirmed he would set out his party's agenda when he meets Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain on Wednesday. 

It is a surrender to the IRA
DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley

Speaking on the steps of Stormont, Mr Paisley said: "The Government's so-called normalisation programme will have a profound effect on the political process in Northern Ireland.

"It is a surrender to the IRA and is further evidence of bad faith on the part of the Government.

"We are appalled at the dishonest and dangerous approach of the Government with today's announcement of 'normalisation' and we want to make it clear that it will pay a high price for the approach that is being taken."

Mr Paisley questioned how the Government could trust the IRA so soon after the Provisionals vowed to give up their arms. He also claimed the decisions were based on a political deal as opposed to security considerations.

"This bilateral agreement between the Government and the IRA will have serious consequences for the political process.

Dr Paisley warned the return of the Northern Ireland Assembly would depend on the co-operation of his party.

"The Secretary of State should be aware that of all the political parties in Northern Ireland, the DUP need devolution the least and while we have no control over many decisions that the Government takes, we do have a veto on the return of devolution," he said.

"The Government may wish to avoid dealing with the DUP and taking its decisions, but there are some things they cannot do without the support of the unionist community. "We alone will dictate when we enter negotiations with the Government about devolution. We alone will dictate when, if ever, we enter discussions with Sinn Fein and we alone will dictate when, if ever, and in what circumstances, we enter an administration with Sinn Fein.

"There is a price which we are not prepared to pay for the return of devolution."

The DUP leader described plans to disband the Royal Irish Regiment as a "scandalous betrayal".