Trimble attacks DUP dishonesty

There has been a misunderstanding among colleagues about my position. On becoming a Peer I became ineligible to stand for the House of Commons. I am not, however disqualified from standing for the Northern Ireland Assembly, as evidenced by the position of Lord Alderdice and Lord Kilclooney(formerly John D Taylor), both of whom have been Assembly members while Peers.

I hope to make a significant contribution to the Lords. As for a future Northern Ireland Assembly election I will decide whether to seek a nomination in the light of the circumstances then prevailing. If there is such an election in the next few month I will be sorely tempted.

It is clear from the DUP’s thoroughly dishonest consultation paper that they have accepted and are trying to sell the so-called St Andrew’s agreement. That “agreement” does not change a single word of the Belfast Agreement! In doing so they will make Martin McGuinness Deputy First Minister. This is now alright because he has stopped being a terrorist. Actually he had stopped being a terrorist while he was Education Minister. The DUP did not believe it then, but now they do. The only thing that has changed is the DUP.

No wonder I feel that I have been vindicated.

But when I stood for the Assembly in 1998 and 2003 people knew that my overriding commitment was to making the Agreement work. The DUP stood on the platform of first smashing the Agreement, then of changing it. They have failed in both.

There are some changes of detail, but many of these are not for the better. The proposed Irish Language Act, the opening up of the Northern Ireland Civil Service to Irish citizens, an enhanced Human Rights Commission and the ending of the First Minister’s control over North/South matters are all changes for the worse.

What is utterly shameful is the DUP’s acceptance of discrimination in police recruitment. Oh, they claim they have “won” its ending when 30% of the police are RC, but that is simply a reflection of Patton’s original proposals, which we have been fighting and winning the argument if not the vote. Now the DUP have thrown away the argument for nothing!

(November 3rd, 2006)

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Published by the Office of The Right Honourable The Lord Trimble, of Lisnagarvey in the County of Antrim.
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