Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley: Remarks on IRA decommissioning could be overlooked but deserve scrutiny

By Samuel Morrison

Last summer DUP councillor Jenny Palmer revealed that when it comes to the Democratic Unionists "the party comes first".

The interview with Dr Paisley on Monday revealed that no one in the party was exempt from this attitude.

It was interesting too to note that Lord Bannside had to resort to a pre-prepared statement when asked about why he went into government with Sinn Fein/IRA.

He could talk with certainty when it came to his views on everything else but when it came to justifying the u-turn which was at variance with the political stand he took for the vast bulk of his political career he, unlike Mrs Paisley, was suddenly uncertain.

Tellingly Dr Paisley's statement made no mention of the mythical "Plan B" which would supposedly see Dublin given immeasurable power in Northern Ireland.

Amid the torrent of accusations against former allies, Dr Paisley's remarks on decommissioning could easily be overlooked. They do, however, deserve scrutiny.

Astoundingly he told Mallie that he was convinced the IRA had decommissioned because of what west Belfast priest Alec Reid told him.

Reid, of course, likened Ulster Protestants to Nazis and was a longtime confident of Gerry Adams, someone he described as "a man sent from God".

Why Semtex imported by the Provos in the 1980s keeps turning up in the hands of "dissidents" like Gavin Coyle who was sentenced to 10 years last week wasn't explored.

So in essence Dr Paisley ended up with the belief that you can trust a priest, but those Free Ps on the other hand...

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