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Ian Paisley: Sinn Fein are no longer fit for Government

By Noel McAdam

Published 24/08/2015

DUP MP Ian Paisley
DUP MP Ian Paisley
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein Education Minister John O’Dowd with, (from left) MEP Martina Anderson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill

Sinn Fein must be excluded from the Stormont Executive, a senior DUP MP has warned.

Ian Paisley also said his party should block meetings of the Executive because the murder of Kevin McGuigan meant business could not continue as usual.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph today, Mr Paisley stressed unless "a rabbit is pulled from a hat" or the police say their initial assessment is wrong, Sinn Fein must be excluded.

His comments came after Gerry Adams insisted "the IRA has gone away, you know" and argued there is no basis for political sanctions against his party.

In a speech in Dundalk yesterday, the Sinn Fein President also said those involved in the killings of Mr McGuigan and former IRA commander 'Jock' Davison in May "are not the IRA".

His speech followed further clarification from Chief Constable George Hamilton on Saturday that while the IRA still exists, it is not on a war footing.

Following meetings with a number of political parties, Mr Hamilton said: "We assess that in the organisational sense, the Provisional IRA does not exist for paramilitary purposes.

"We have no information to suggest that violence, as seen in the murder of Kevin McGuigan, was sanctioned or directed at a senior level in the republican movement."

Mr Paisley's remarks today come just over a month after he warned the province was facing the prospect of a five-year period of Direct Rule because of the level of "toxicity" in the Assembly among unionists.

Now the North Antrim MP said while government departments should continue to function, Stormont could not continue in a "business as usual" manner in the current climate.

With two weeks before the first full plenary session of the new Assembly term, he said his party should consider blocking the Executive - by staying away from meetings - until a full police report.

As his party prepared to meet Secretary of State Theresa Villiers over the issue, Mr Paisley said: "We as unionists must do what is right. Even if the stars fall.

"In my view giving the police until the end of September provides them with adequate time to make that assessment. It gives all parties the opportunity to state the options they will pursue.

"Now unless a rabbit is pulled from a hat and the police say we got it wrong, this means that Sinn Fein must be excluded from the Executive. It does not follow that the Executive would necessarily fall.

"In fact, Sinn Fein would be under pressure to reform themselves and remove the structures that have caused the problem. If they give consent, the institutions could continue to function though I accept that consent would most likely be withheld and the structures would fall.

"At that point, I ultimately do not believe the Assembly would be back anytime soon."

Meanwhile, Mr Adams yesterday deliberately misquoted his infamous retort to republican hecklers outside Belfast City Hall 20 years ago when he said the IRA "haven't gone away, you know".

Speaking at the national hunger strike commemoration in Co Louth, Mr Adams said: "Let me be very clear. The killings of Jock Davison and of Kevin McGuigan were wrong. Those involved do not represent republicanism. They are not the IRA. The IRA has gone away, you know. None of the many alphabet groups that now claim the proud name of the Irish Republican Army have a right to that title. They have no connection whatsoever with the men and women who bravely resisted British militarism.

"As we approach the centenary of 1916 there is no need, rationale or reason for any armed groups whatsoever. It's time they called an end to their sham campaigns.

"I have a similar blunt message for those who engage in a sham fight at Stormont on this issue. Those who threaten to take action against Sinn Fein in the political institutions have no basis whatsoever for this."

Hardline unionist Jim Allister, however, warned the DUP and Ulster Unionist Party against "turning a blind eye" to murder.

Belfast Telegraph

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