24 February 2006

Morrow Slams UUP 'Trail Of Tears'

News Letter

Friday 24th February 2006

THE DUP does not need advice from Ulster Unionists on how to negotiate with Sinn Fein, party chairman Maurice Morrow has said. The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA hit back at comments made by Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey criticising the stance of the DUP in this week's talks.

Elsewhere in these pages, Sir Reg illustrates what he believes are huge inconsistencies in DUP policy, but Mr Morrow insisted that he and his party needed no help in negotiating a return to devolved government in Northern Ireland. "The UUP is in no position to offer advice on handling the republican movement given their history," he said. "Their track record in talks is a trail of tears for unionism and one that no self-respecting unionist would wish to follow. "Negotiations in which unionism was led by the Ulster Unionist party were hallmarked by Sinn Fein being put into the Province's government while the IRA remained involved in criminality and terrorism and UUP acquiescence or even agreement to a whole host of concessions to republicans. "By being unflinching in our stand that there can be no place for the representatives of republican terror and criminality in the government of Northern Ireland, the Government and republicans know that the days of pushover unionism are over for ever. "There will be no return to the days when the UUP simply rolled over and gave in to Sinn Fein/IRA. Through establishing devolution on such a shoddy basis, the UUP doomed Northern Ireland to failure. Again, on this issue - as in others - the DUP is determined not to follow the example set by the UUP. "Rather than advising the DUP to confront Sinn Fein, Reg Empey and the UUP should begin to confront the fact that their style of negotiations was a complete and utter disaster for unionism."

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