Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

European and council elections give Northern Ireland chance to pass judgement on parties for first time in three years

The European Parliament buildings in Strasbourg. Botond Horvath / Shutterstock.com
The European Parliament buildings in Strasbourg. Botond Horvath / Shutterstock.com

The upcoming European and council elections will provide the people of Northern Ireland with the opportunity to pass judgement on the performance of the political parties for the first time in three years.

My party, the TUV, goes into the elections confident that it has demonstrated it can deliver for unionism.

Without TUV there would have been no Ann’s Law – the first victory for innocent victims since the Belfast Agreement and a major political defeat for Sinn Fein.

Without TUV there would have been no resolution of a situation where RUC widows, unlike their PSNI counterparts, were denied full pension rights.

A vote for TUV sends the clearest message that get out of jail free letters to republicans where unacceptable.

It sends a message that unionists do not accept the token review, something which falls far, far short of the full judicial inquiry, the publication of the names of the suspected terrorists and the revoking of the letters which he demanded.

It sends a message that unionists reject the Haass proposals which sanitise the actions of republican and loyalist terrorists by only ever using the word “terrorist” in the same breath as “freedom fighter”,  does nothing to address the travesty which equates victims with victim makes, achieves no progress on the flags issue and would give anyone in Northern Ireland the right to object to a parade anywhere.

Without TUV, innocent victims and tens of thousands of ordinary Unionists there would have been no U-turn when it came to the IRA shrine at the Maze. A vote for the party in the upcoming European and local elections is the best guarantee that there will be no backsliding on this issue.

Remember that Europe planned to give us £18 million of our own money back to fund the project. And there wasn’t word from Diane Dodds about it.

Which brings me to another issue. When did any of us last hear from any of our MEPs on any issue?

When a member of the European Parliament Jim Allister was recognised by the independent Tax Payers' Alliance as the best MEP for the whole of the UK, something which no other candidate in the field can claim.

And he hasn’t been silent on European issues since being elected to Stormont either. Often his is the only Eurosceptic voice heard in the chamber. In last month’s debate on European funding (an oxymoron as we pay more into the EU than we get back so any “EU funding” is actually repackaged money from the British exchequer) and again in this month’s debate on the Executive’s engagement with Brussels the only “Better off out” voice was that of Jim Allister.

That’s not to say he has dismissed everything which has ever originated from Brussels. He has ensured that, for the first time, the EU’s day for victims of terrorism has been marked in Northern Ireland giving victims of both republican and loyalist terrorism a platform from which to tell their stories.

The TUV has proven that they can deliver since the last election and we look forward to bringing that message to doorsteps across Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.

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