23 February 2006

Come clean call to DUP on guns

Belfast Telegraph

Where are Ulster Resistance arms?

By Noel McAdam
23 February 2006

The SDLP has urged the DUP to "come clean" with any knowledge over imported arms linked to Ulster Resistance.

Assembly member John Dallat asked if senior party figures had passed on any details about the quantity or location of any weapons to the police.

"We need to find these guns and the fact that the DUP has met with the International Monitoring Commission about IRA decommissioning presents an opportunity to call upon the leaders of that party to co-operate in the discovery of other weapons imported by Ulster Resistance," the East Derry MLA said.

"The fact that these political leaders prided themselves in wearing the beret and badge of this lethal organisation surely places an onus on them to tell what they know."

His accusations came as DUP leader Ian Paisley accused the Government of a cover-up after his meeting yesterday with General John de Chastelain.

"We have a cover-up by the Government who actually are in the controlling seat and they have agreed evidently with the IRA that decommissioning is finished." he said.

"So I would indict the Government of double standards. I would indict the (disarmament) commission for not saying truthfully if we can't do this job right, we are not going to stay any longer."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan also launched a strong broadside against Mr Paisley over his assertion that any weaponry retained by the IRA would be used against "the Protestant people".

The former Deputy First Minister branded Mr Paisley a "disgrace" for implying the Provisionals could return to violence on the basis of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report which concluded they have eschewed terrorism.

Mr Durkan said Mr Paisley's remarks were disgraceful, reckless and inflammatory.

He said: "On the one hand Paisley says that he raised loyalist decommissioning with the International Independent Commission for Decommissioning (IICD). Then in the next breath he predicts sectarian warfare and gives them the excuse they need to hold on to their weapons.

"The IMC was totally clear that the IRA leadership have eschewed terrorism. Ian Paisley deliberately makes out that they are about to resume it.

"These remarks show a complete failure of leadership by Ian Paisley. They must be withdrawn by him and condemned in the strongest terms by the two Governments."

Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein also warned the Government would have to reconsider its approach to the DUP in the devolution negotiations.

Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness said: "It is time that the DUP began to live up to their political responsibilities and began showing the sort of political leadership they promised to deliver."

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