DUP Assembly Member for North Down Peter Weir has praised President Bush for his role in Northern Ireland. The DUP Assembly Member said that Mr. Bush has set a good example for future Presidents to follow in their dealings in Northern Ireland.
Speaking today Peter Weir said:
“George W Bush has been an excellent President of the United States as far as Northern Ireland was concerned. Unlike his predecessor in the Oval Office, Mr. Bush adopted an even-handed and balanced approach to Northern Ireland, taking a tough line when necessary. People will remember that his administration placed strong pressure on Republicans to come up to the mark on the issue of decommissioning, going as far as banning Sinn Fein from the White House. The sight of Gerry Adams hawking himself around Irish pubs on the US east coast rather than chin-wagging in the White House left Sinn Fein in no doubt that President Bush would tolerate no prevarication over issues concerning support for democratic principles or the rule of law.
More recently the Bush Administration has been to the forefront of securing US investment in Northern Ireland and has worked closely with the new Northern Ireland Executive to create jobs here. The people of Northern Ireland owe a debt to the individuals that Mr. Bush has sent to represent the United States in Northern Ireland. Richard Haas and Mitchell Reiss worked along with the DUP in forcing the pace of change upon Republicans – our American friends helped us to achieve the goal of getting Sinn Fein to sign up to support policing, the courts system and the institutions of the British state.
The irony of nationalists taking to the streets to protest against a man who has helped us move to the more peaceful situation that we have today, who has encouraged massive investment in our country and who has on numerous occasions actually entertained the self-same nationalists in the SDLP at the White House, will not be lost on ordinary people throughout Northern Ireland. As for the DUP, we salute President Bush and wish him well as he prepares to leave office unlike the hypocritical nationalists who protested against him yesterday whilst happily enjoying his hospitality in the past”, said the DUP MLA.
South Antrim MP William McCrea has claimed that Sinn Fein has failed to force its agenda onto the Unionist population. The MP was commenting on Sinn Fein’s behaviour over the course of the last week leading up to the nomination of a First Minister and asserted that Sinn Fein’s attempts at brinkmanship had comprehensively failed.
Speaking today, William McCrea said:
“Last weekend Sinn Fein embarked on a transparent attempt to foist their agenda upon the Unionist population. They cynically and selfishly sought to destabilise the political institutions in order to push their plans in relation to the devolution of Policing and Justice and the Irish language. Yesterday’s nomination of a First Minister shows that the Sinn Fein bluff has been well and truly called by the DUP.
Seven days ago the position of the DUP was that the devolution of Policing and Justice Powers could not take place until there was sufficient public confidence to allow it to happen. That remains the case today. One way in which public confidence could be increased would be for the illegal IRA Army Council to be disbanded. The DUP opposes any new Irish Language legislation, indeed it was a DUP Minister who binned this key Republican demand at Stormont. We have not moved one inch from that position.
The truth of the matter is that Gerry Adams was desperately seeking to re-establish some credibility following the string of defeats that have been inflicted on Sinn Fein in the Assembly by Unionists. The DUP is pleased to have binned an Irish Language Act: we have negotiated a veto on devolution of Policing and Justice and we will use it on behalf our community until they are confident enough to allow devolution of these powers to take place. The last seven days have changed nothing. The DUP is inside the devolved institutions pushing a strong Unionist agenda and preventing the imposition of a nationalist one via Direct Rule. I believe that is what the Unionist community want to see.”
Sammy Wilson MP MLA has asked why Jim Allister, Bairbre de Bruin and Jim Nicholson have so far failed to fill in and return a questionnaire concerning staff allowances sent from centre-right think tank Open Europe. Open Europe, which is a cross-party group campaigning for more openness and honesty in the European Union has confirmed to the Democratic Unionist Party that it sent out a questionnaire consisting of six simple questions to all UK MEPs on the 19th March 2008 and has of today yet to receive a reply from Mr. Allister, Ms. De Bruin or Mr. Nicholson.
Speaking today Mr. Wilson said:
“Assembly Members, MPs and local councillors have by UK law to provide for public scrutiny details of any and all expenses paid to them including travel and accommodation, office allowances and any other costs that they may incur. The only public representatives who do not have to declare these costs are Members of the European Parliament because they are not subject to the same Freedom of Information legislation as other public representatives. The European Parliament is notoriously difficult to get information from on issues concerning member’s expenses. Indeed only last month leaders of the various political groupings in Europe voted to abandon plans to introduce even basic rules on financial transparency into the Parliament.
Open Europe sent a six-question survey to all of the United Kingdom’s 79 MEPs. Thus far only 19 MEPs gave full answers to all questions whilst another 14 replied but gave only partial answers. The remaining 43 MEPs, including Mr. Allister, Ms. De Bruin and Mr. Nicholson have not responded at all to the questionnaire sent on 19th March 2008 – a full 11 weeks ago. What reason can there be for such delay?
In the past Mr. Allister has sought to set himself up as a champion for open government. Open Europe are actually listed in the links page of his website. He is particularly adept at the deployment of Freedom of Information legislation, which he himself as an MEP isn’t actually subject to, along with his colleagues Bairbre de Bruin and Jim Nicholson. Why have they thus far not responded to Open Europe’s simple survey? Will they each give an assurance that their response is either in the post or will be despatched soon to Open Europe providing full and detailed answers to all of the questions posed? In the interests of openness and fairness I look forward to seeing a full account of how our MEPs, spend their staffing allowances.”
Our colleagues in South Belfast DUP are holding a summer fundraising barbeque.
This will be held on Friday 13th June 2008 in the Sir. Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, Upper Malone Road starting at 7:30pm.
Tickets are priced at £10 and the guest speaker will be party leader the Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson MP, MLA
. Further information and tickets can be obtained by contacting the association (email@example.com