Platform piece By David McNarry MLA – UKIP Leader in Northern Ireland.
Even if the Secretary of State’s damning report on paramilitary activity fails to ignite a sense of political integrity among unionists seeking to reconnect with the pro-British electorate here, there is a real danger that an, as yet, unreformed and militant republicanism will continue to infest Northern Ireland’s political landscape. According to the assessment of PIRA, it seems that the Provos can float like ‘butterflies’ while, at the same time, retain the capacity to sting like bees – a sting which appears to include the right for some to periodically murder their own people. Sinn Fein is wallowing in the denial that an armed overarching Provisional army council exists. They assert that this finding of the paramiliary assessment is not true.
However it seems that we British people have been conned and are the last to know that for years the DUP, Alliance, SDLP and Ulster Unionists have been willingly sitting in Government with the still-armed Provo Army Council. This is not good enough. Are we to believe that at St Andrews, Ian Paisley consented to and willingly entered into a mandatory coalition with an Armed Provo Army Council? If that was the case, then what other dark secrets remain hidden from the people?
It was this ‘Provo Party’ that Teresa Villiers MP put into the record when she read to Parliament “we judge that individual members of paramilitary groups with a legacy of violent activity still represent a threat to National Security.’ This means that a real potential threat still emanates from what should be called the ‘Provo Party’ rather than Sinn Fein, which continues to operate without sanction at the heart of Government in Stormont. Make no mistake – an Army Council sits at the heart of power in the Executive, walks the corridors of Stormont and exercises a veto through cynically and self-interestedly deployed petitions of concern in the Assembly Chamber.
People are not buying into this rotten borough any more and are outraged to be told that ‘everyone knew about the Army Council.’ Well they did not.
Am I the only Party Leader able to spot the difference this makes to people? Am I the only one recognising that this is a deceit of indecent proportions? I do not believe that I am the only one who is sickened by the overt nepotism and devious self-interest that allows the revelations that Sinn Fein is directed by an army council to pass almost unnoticed.
The five parties who have been in the Executive have let the people down. They have hood-winked them and reduced devolution to tatters, rendering their past mandates redundant. They no longer have the confidence of the people to remain in Government. Am I the only Leader here demanding that the Provo Party cannot be in Government with the Armed Army Council controlling its every move?
I contend that we are well into an intolerable political impasse which is beyond recovery in real, honest and principled terms within the deadline of the next two weeks. This army council directed ‘Provo Party’ should not be permitted to remain in government. The over-arching control of an army council needs to disappear immediately and unconditionally. I say this as a committed devolutionist who is also committed to sharing power. I am not, however, prepared to countenance what is no more than a Provo party under the control of an armed Army Council calling the shots.
Now that the people have the full facts on this situation, I believe that only an election can restore any measure of public confidence in the institutions of government. The present arrangements cannot continue as if nothing had changed.
UKIP is firmly committed to fight the people’s corner and point us towards a properly constituted democratic form of devolution which does not operate with a lie on its lips. There can be no surviving democracy with an Armed Army Council in Government.