DUP pledged that there would have to be ‘complete’ decommissioning

Ian Paisley and David Simpson in celebrate Upper Bann in 2005.  'PICTURE BY: ARTHUR ALLISON.
Ian Paisley and David Simpson in celebrate Upper Bann in 2005. 'PICTURE BY: ARTHUR ALLISON.

A decade ago, the DUP set out what it presented as very clear demands for the IRA to fully disarm.

The party’s manifesto for the 2005 Westminster election – where it decimated the UUP and toppled David Trimble – said that “unlike the UUP, when we set demands, we mean them and adhere to them”.

News Letter front Page 2001 David Simpson David Trimble

News Letter front Page 2001 David Simpson David Trimble

The document said: “Only the DUP can be trusted to hold the line in negotiations. Remember even after Florida, Stormontgate, Castlereagh, and Colombia the UUP was willing to allow IRA/Sinn Fein back into government without complete decommissioning.

“As David Trimble admitted as late as October 2003: ‘But we did not, as some suggest, say that every jot and tittle must be complete before we would proceed. Neither the government’s formula nor ours say that everything must be done first.’”

It went on: “By contrast, the DUP insisted that no one who is associated with paramilitarism or criminality will be in any Executive in Northern Ireland.

“Sinn Fein could then only be considered for entry to an Executive after:

l Complete visible, verifiable decommissioning.

l A total end to all paramilitary and criminal activity.

l The community is convinced the IRA has been stood down.

“Inclusive, mandatory coalition government which includes Sinn Fein under d’Hondt or any other system is out of the question.”