21 March 2006

DUP already have relationship with unionist paramilitaries

Sinn Féin

Published: 21 March, 2006

Commenting after the meeting today between the DUP and the IMC and the comments from Peter Robinson that he may be prepared to talk directly to unionist paramilitaries, Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan said that the DUP were living in a fantasy land if they were trying to pretend that a relationship does not already exist between his party and loyalist paramilitary gangs.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Over the past number of years unionist paramilitaries have been engaged in a widespread anti-Catholic campaign much of it centred in Ian Paisley's own constituency. Nationalists and republicans have been rightly critical of the DUP failure to address these attacks.

"This morning after meeting with the IMC in Belfast Peter Robinson indicated that he was preparing to talk directly to unionist paramilitaries. Many people will find this ironic given the fact that the DUP still refuse to talk to the largest nationalist party Sinn Féin.

"Many people will also find it strange that Peter Robinson is seriously attempting to convince nationalists and republicans that a relationship does not already exist between the DUP and unionist paramilitaries, a relationship which has endured for decades.

* The DUP currently sit on the North and West parades forum with the UVF and UDA
* Senior DUP MPs have lent their support to the 'Love Ulster' campaign which the UDA were involved in publicly launching
* In the 1970s Ian Paisley formed the Third Force
* In the 1980s the DUP formed Ulster Resistance which went on to import tonnes of weapons from South Africa to kill Catholics
* In the late 1990s Willie McCrea stood on a platform with LVF leader Billy Wright
* The man convicted of killing Sinn Féin member Malachy Carey, released from prison under the Good Friday Agreement, currently holds a senior position within the DUP organisation in North Antrim

"So it is time the DUP faced up to reality and stopped hiding behind rhetoric. People know and accept that they have a relationship with violent unionism. What people want to hear from the DUP is that they are going to begin to exercise their political responsibilities not just with regard to unionist paramilitaries but across the political spectrum and in particular with regard to sitting down with nationalists and republicans in the power sharing executive laid out in the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS

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