Only at Stormont could a motion on human rights be proposed by an MLA who sought to deny right to life

TUV leader Jim Allister at Stormont. 
Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
TUV leader Jim Allister at Stormont. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

This is Jim Allister’s contribution to an Assembly motion on Monday about human rights:

“There are many fundamental human rights, but there is the absolute human right of the right to life; it is written in the universal declaration at article 3.

“Some have referred to the irony of the source of the motion; I refer to the hypocrisy of the source of the motion today.

“It comes from a party that has gone out of its way over many years to justify and stand over the denial of that absolute human right: the right to life.

“Take the proposer of the motion, Mr Lynch: an unrepentant convicted terrorist. He was caught by the SAS in April 1986 while seeking to plant a landmine with murder in his heart to kill soldiers on the road to Rosslea, for which he got 25 years but, sadly, served only half of that.

“Only in Stormont could someone have the audacity to stand unrepentant about their own attempts to deny human rights while proposing a motion on human rights and clutching to themselves the clothing of human rights when they stand convicted of possessing explosives and a rifle with intent to endanger life. If he had had his way that day, he would have delivered murder to a passing patrol of soldiers.

“Of course, it is interesting to reflect that, on international Human Rights Day — 10 December — the same IRA robbed many individuals of that most absolute human right, for which we hear no apology today.

“On 10 December 1971, two UDR soldiers, a Protestant and a Catholic, Kenneth Smyth and Daniel McCormick, were murdered by the IRA on international Human Rights Day at Claudy. The very next year, on 10 December 1972, Stewart Middlemass, a soldier, was murdered by an IRA booby trap at Fort Monagh barracks.

“The very next year, on international Human Rights Day, James Hesketh, a 21-year-old soldier, was shot by an IRA sniper in Leeson Street. In 1980, on international Human Rights Day, 10 December, Colin Quinn was shot by the IRA when leaving his work.

“Yet some, who, to this day, have no apology to make for their actions or the actions of their comrades in delivering murder and denying the fundamental right to life, have the audacity to come to the House and cloak themselves in the language of human rights and talk about defending international Human Rights Day.

“Where were the human rights of Kenneth Smyth, Daniel McCormick, Joseph Parker, Stewart Middlemass and James Hesketh on international Human Rights Day?

“They were denied them, primarily by the IRA, and, in April 1986, the proposer of the motion would have denied the same human right had he not been stopped in his tracks by the SAS.

“For the very reason of the stench of hypocrisy that arises from the source of this motion, I will vote against it.”

• Jim Allister is leader of Traditional Unionist Voice and MLA for North Antrim