Paisley says IRA will be judged on 'actions'

Today's IRA statement will be judged on actions, not words, over the coming months and years, DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley has said.

In a statement released shortly after the IRA's declaration that it will end its armed struggle from 4pm on Thursday, the North Antrim MP said the history of the past ten years in Northern Ireland was littered with IRA statements "which we were told were ‘historic’, ‘ground-breaking’ and ‘seismic’".

"These same statements were followed by the IRA reverting to type and carrying out more of its horrific murders and squalid criminality," Dr Paisley said. "The unionist community feels no obligation to cheer the words of P O’Neill.

"We will judge the IRA’s bona fides over the next months and years based on its behaviour and activity."

However, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams described today's news as "historic" saying it represented a "courageous and confident initiative".

"The IRA decision presents an unparalleled challenge and opportunity for every nationalist and republican," the West Belfast MP said.

"There is an enormous responsibility on us to seize this moment and to make Irish freedom a reality.

"I would urge all Irish nationalists and republicans, including those who have shown such commitment as volunteers of the IRA to put their undoubted talents and energy into building a new Ireland."

In a joint statement by Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taioseach Bertie Ahern, both men said they welcomed today's developments.

"The end of the IRA as a paramilitary organisation is the outcome the Governments have been working towards since the cessation of military activity in 1994," the statement read.

"We acknowledge the significance of the IRA statement. Both Governments are hopeful that the practical elements of this statement will be implemented in the terms set out. If the IRA's words are borne out by actions, it will be a momentous and historic development."

A short time earlier at a press conference in Downing Street, Mr Blair described the news as "a step of unparalleled magnitude".

"This may be the day which finally after all these false dawns and dashed hopes peace replaced war, politics replaces terror on the island of Ireland," he said. "The statement is of a different order to anything before. It is what we have striven for and worked for throughout the eight years since the Good Friday Agreement.

"It creates the circumstances in which the institutions can be revived.".


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 September 2019
Project Explores Local LGBT Heritage
A new project is set to reflect on the experiences of the LGBT community during the period when homosexuality was a criminal offence in Northern Ireland. Homosexuality was not decriminalised in Northern Ireland until 1982, 15 years after the legislation was passed in England.
05 September 2019
Other News In Brief
Police Make Arrest Over 2007 Murder A 57-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Michael Gerard Hampson. Mr Hampson's body was discovered on the shore of Lough Neagh near Toomebridge on January 09 2008, one month after the L'Derry man was reported missing. A post-mortem examination found that he died in suspicious circumstances.
05 January 2018
Couple Who Intervened To Stop Lurgan Assault Urged To Contact Police
The PSNI have appealed to a couple who intervened in a New Years Day assault in Lurgan to contact them. A 42-year-old man remains in a serious condition in hospital after he was attacked by another man, while in a takeaway on Union Street, Lurgan in the early hours of New Years Day.
18 April 2003
Adams claims IRA response is ‘unparalleled’
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has told a meeting of party members that the IRA statement issued to the British and Irish governments contained elements that were “unparalleled” in republican history. Mr Adams attending a meeting held in a Newry hotel maintained that the IRA statement was both “clear and unambiguous”.
06 May 2003
Empey challenges DUP to publish alternative proposals
Former Economy Minister Sir Reg Empey has challenged the DUP to publish their detailed proposals for ‘A Fair Deal’. In a statement, the UUP councillor said that now the Joint Declaration had been published - and with an IRA statement imminent - the time was right to see what alternatives the DUP could offer.