19 November 2005

Paisley hits out at Dail speaking rights plan

Belfast Telegraph

By Senan Hogan
19 November 2005

Proposed speaking rights for Northern Ireland MPs in the Irish Parliament would be an act of aggression against unionists and jeopardise any future relationship, the DUP has claimed.

The party said the planned concessions were short-sighted and would represent a quasi-constitutional claim on Northern Ireland, which had frustrated political progress for decades.

Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in Dublin, DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley said: "The Irish Government should not jeopardise the prospect for a proper constructive relationship between our two countries.

"Disturbing the present constitutional balance would be short-sighted with far-reaching, long-term consequences."

The DUP leader said all of the parties must work towards building a relationship which is practical rather than politically-motivated.

Mr Paisley also added that he did not believe that the Independent Monitoring Commission would be in a position to give the IRA a clean bill of health in its next report that is due in January. The North Antrim MP said: "The IMC has told us that in no way will they be able to say that they can give a clean bill of health to the IRA."

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