TUV leader Jim Allister has claimed that republican decommissioning and commitment to democracy is a confidence trick – and that the UUP should have resigned from the Executive after the 2007 murder of Paul Quinn in south Armagh.
Speaking at a TUV meeting in east Belfast on Wednesday night, Mr Allister said there are a number of “undeniable facts” arising from the recent murder of Kevin McGuigan by members of the IRA.
“Firstly, the IRA as the chief constable has made clear, continues to exist. Therefore the IRA’s supposed disbandment was a con,” he said.
“Secondly, the IRA have guns. Therefore the IRA’s supposed decommissioning was a con.
“Thirdly, the IRA reserve the right to shoot people. Therefore the IRA’s supposed commitment to the rule of law was a con.”
The entire peace process has been “exposed as the appeasement of armed republicanism”, he claimed.
The MLA commended the UUP for abandoning the “sham which is the current failed Executive”.
And he scorned subsequent DUP Assembly motions and calls for talks, adding that “words, as the murder showed, are meaningless in Northern Ireland politics – unless of course they are on an on-the-run letter.”
As welcome as the UUP Executive resignation was, he said, he wondered why that party “suddenly developed a conscience about IRA murders”.
He pressed the UUP on why it did not resign in 2007 after the murder of Mr Quinn, noting that afterwards, then minister Conor Murphy said he had “spoken to the IRA in the area” about the killing.
Unionists must now accept this form of devolution has failed and that “real democracy” is needed, he said.