04 February 2006

Belfast Agreement is dead, says Robinson

BN.ie

04/02/2006 - 12:05:47

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNorthern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain was today accused of acting like a spin doctor for the IRA.

In a hard-hitting attack on a range of political opponents in the North, Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson told his annual conference in Belfast that the British government should be ashamed of how it handled concerns about ongoing IRA criminality, violence and allegations that they had held on to their weapons.

And with the party due to head into talks on Monday with the British government, the East Belfast MP 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 before republicans could democratise.

“Democracy cannot tolerate a situation where criminality is institutionalised at the heart of the state and that is exactly what would be done if we were to permit an organisation like Sinn Féin which is still seamlessly linked to paramilitary and criminal activity into government,” he said.

“It will not happen. But, in truth, I do not need to argue the case that Sinn Féin has not passed the entry test.

“Bertie Ahern has pronounced upon their fitness for government. He says he would not countenance having them in government in the Irish Republic. You can be certain that neither Tony Blair nor George Bush would consider sharing power with the Provos for a second.

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

The former Stormont Regional Development Minister noted it had taken 11 years from their first ceasefire for the IRA to carry out significant disarmament but he said it was also clear that their fingers could not be prised away from their weapons.

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 government should be ashamed of itself. Instead of piling pressure on republicans to make good their promises, 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.”

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