Speech by Ian Paisley to DUP Annual Conference, 8 May 2004
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Text of a speech by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to the DUP's Annual Conference, in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast, Saturday 8 May 2004.
"The majority of Ulster’s unionists have given the Ulster Democratic Unionist Party the custodianship of our Province. They have charged us with the trust deeds of our future.
We have a solemn and terrifying responsibility. Every evil force which seeks the destruction of our Province, the betrayal of our heritage, the abolition of the Union and the final victory of our enemies, is united to achieve that goal.
This is war, war waged in every sphere. It is a fight to where no Queensbury Rules are honoured. It is a battle where no international agreements are upheld. It is a struggle for the very existence of democracy. Every evil force is harnessed to the chariot of the vilest treachery and diabolical deception.
Destruction of Ulster is the aim and the IRA is the instrument of the entire Judas Iscariot strategy. Treachery is their order of the day.
The great objective is to discredit the loyal unionist majority and seek, by the most underhand schemes, to turn the Democratic Unionist Party into another easy push-over spineless organisation, as has happened to the Ulster Unionist Party.
Let me tell you that as long as I lead this party it is going to honour the election pledges it has made. It will not be entering any talks, negotiations, pow-wows or socialisations with IRA/Sinn Fein.
Until Sinn Fein has surrendered its murder weaponry and turned away completely, totally and forever from its campaign of treachery, murder and mayhem, we will not be speaking to them in any way or negotiating with them at all.
I would remind you of the answer Tony Blair gave to me in the House of Commons in November 2002, when I asked him, "What is an act of completion? Does it consist of IRA/Sinn Fein repudiating and ceasing violence, and being disbanded, or dies it simply mean that they make a statement that they will give up violence? Can the Prime Minister tell us what he believes it means?
Here is his reply, "I can. It is not merely a statement, a declaration or words. It means giving up violence completely in a way that satisfies everyone, and gives them confidence that the IRA has ceased its campaign, and enables us to move the democratic process forward, with every party that wants to be in government abiding by the same democratic rules".
Today I say to the Prime Minister, there is no going back Mr Blair. There is no letting off the hook. There is no diluting of the promises made. It is all or nothing. It is action, not promises. It is public demonstration, not concealed equivocation smoke-screened behind false undertakings. This is your promise. This is your self-appointed programme Mr Blair. This is the way you said you would go. The Ulster electorate is determined you will walk this road of your own choosing. Away then from prevarication, dilution and compromise Mr Blair. Going over to the enemy is treachery and betrayal. You made the promise. You declared it. You set it in stone. You wrote it on the wall. You promised to fulfil it.
The DUP stands ready to enter real talks, provide total decommissioning has been accomplished. Without that, there is no future peace in Northern Ireland. The IRA are busy, aided and abetted by Dublin, notching up a further victory, gaining another raft of concessions and taking another step in the destruction of our place in this island. Make no mistake about it, it is war to the end. It is a matter of life and death, freedom or bondage, whether we shall be serfs of Dublin or free citizens of Britannia.
In the election campaign, a certain journalist insisted in putting to me the question which has been asked over and over again. "Will you talk with IRA/Sinn Fein?" I caught him by the lapels of his coat and told him in no uncertain language – never and never it is.
"To talk is not to negotiate" they cry. We have seen that in the fate of the Unionist Party.
That party had its back broken by such talks. IRA/Sinn Fein must learn that there is a price to be paid by them for a place at the table and until they get rid of the guns on the table, under the table and outside the doors of the negotiating chamber, they will have no place in the talks. They have a choice to make, and until they make it, the door of democracy is locked against them.
If Mr Blair is going to lie again to the people of Ulster, he will reap what he sows.
The time has come to face up to IRA/Sinn Fein terrorists. Concession will not buy them off. The price is too high, because the payments will continue until we are bankrupt and finally devoured. No amount of appeasement will ever satisfy this monster of blood.
He who quickens and makes stronger the appetite of this monster will become its final gulp and swallow. This monster must be killed off or it will kill us off.
This is something Mr Blair refuses to learn.
As long as the DUP is around, Mr Blair will not be allowed to escape from his promise. Prime Minister, it is time you honoured your pledge.
This issue is even more serious than the European issue at this time. It is literally the right to live. As long as IRA/Sinn Fein murder squads and other terrorists hold on to their weapons, all right thinking citizens are in danger. This threat must be smashed once and for all and forever.
The Government must face up IRA/Sinn Fein and stop facing down the law abiding citizens of this country. Every right thinking citizen of Northern Ireland expects Mr Blair to keep his word and give them to right to live.
Let it be carefully noted, that every time IRA/Sinn Fein has come under pressure, all the energies of the Roman Catholic Church are called into action to pressure the Government to concede something more to them an d save them. At the time of the hunger strikes, the Pope himself made the suicides of the IRA participants religiously respectable by sending himself own special emissary to meet them and present them with gold crucifixes blessed by himself.
Then pressures were put on john Hume to make Gerry Adams and his murder organisation respectable. John Hume became the engineer of his own party’s destruction. He now sits in retirement upon its ruins. Who got Gerry Adams elected to Westminster? John Hume. Dr Hendron himself ousted by the action of his own leader, at the best of the Church. Dr Hendron was the first victim and now his whole party has become the second victim of Hume’s Church dictated actions.
Now the Roman Church has been called in once again. The Church sees the rise and renewal of resurrected traditional unionism as a menace to IRA/Sinn Fein thus Archbishop Brady’s intervention.
Running true to form, the Jesuits within the Church have refused to reveal the full contents of the speech. Only a specially prepared version is available. Why, at this particular time, do we not get the full story? Is it not interesting how quickly the ecumenical clergy have hastened to run to the aid of the Archbishop? No wonder the enemies of our Province are worried. Before the last election they were crowing victoriously. Traditional unionism was about to be buried forever. But low and behold, a resurrection took place. A newer and stronger spirit came down upon the unionist cause which had been so blatantly and barefacedly betrayed by one David Trimble. A fresh power driven determination and resolution overcame those who had been viewing the situation as beyond repair. Unionist traditionalism united and at the end of the election the tide had turned and best of all, IRA/Sinn Fein was defeated in West Belfast and unionists are back in business in that area. The DUP now has an elected representative in the Assembly from every electoral area.
Many inside the Unionist Party left that party and rallied to join the revival of the old heroic unionist spirit.
Fellow unionists, we are not going to allow IRA/Sinn Fein to rule over us. We are not going to pull down our flag and join with the Trimbleite slaves in the tents of republicanism. We are not going to nominate republicans to the House of Lords.
True unionism, unionism cleansed and delivered from the softness of political expediency, ahs arisen and is on the march. Let all prevaricators tremble, for truth will always win. Let all compromisers retreat, for I hear the marching feat of the enlarged and newly regenerated battalions of traditional unionism.
Let those of you rejoice who have stood by the old cause in its darkest days.
Weeping has endured for the night but joy has come in the morning.
We welcome to your true family those who have left the Trimble conspiracy and we trust that together with one Goad, one flag, one covenant and one aim, we shall live to see the day of ultimate victory.
To all right thinking people of Northern Ireland we extend the hand of friendship. We pledge to work for the Province wide practice of the basic principle upon which this Party was founded – all men equal under the law, and all men equally subject to the law.
For the past thirty four years, I have kept the promise I made when first elected as MP for North Antrim, to serve all my constituents with equal dedication. This whole party is dedicated to the same resolve.
What we ask for ourselves we are pledged to fight for all other law abiding citizens. No person, irrespective of his or her religion, colour, class or creed, has anything to fear from us. Come with us, and we will do you good, is our warm invitation to you to join us in the rebuilding of our beloved Province. It is in this spirit we have entered these talks with the British Government.
We are all creatures of the one and only Creator, God. We are all travellers on the same road of mortality. We will all one day stand before God and give an account of our stewardship. Let us gird ourselves with a new undimmed consecration so that we shall fight a good fight, finish the course and keep the faith.
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, a new beginning,
Offers each the boom or blight –
And the choice goes by forever
‘Twixt that darkness and that light.
Then to side with truth is noble
When we share her wretched crust,
‘Ere her cause brings fame or profit
and ‘tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses,
While the coward stands aside
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ‘tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His Own.
(Poem by James Russell Lowell)
The British House of Commons in its prayers each day, repeats this
benediction, and I would repeat it now, not in hypocrisy or formality but in
truth and reality: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and
the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all, Amen."
CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.
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