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Dr. McCrea: I did not catch the question, but there has been a constant flow of concessions to the IRA. That is bowing to the IRA, and the flow of concessions has not ended. We are being drip-fed what was agreed at the Weston Park talks and in the declaration and the Belfast agreement. Unionists ask me, "What else has been agreed? What else have we not been told?" My constituents have a right to know. If this Government have entered into an agreement with the Provisional IRA, they deserve to be told honestly, in a democratic society, what has been done in their name. Remember: this Government are our Government. They are the Government of the United Kingdom.
Mark Durkan: I am glad to hear the hon. Gentleman's disdain for secret deals and secret understandings on what else has been agreed. Does he recognise, however, that things were agreed in the so-called comprehensive agreement of 8 December, not all of which were published? The only people who know what was agreed that was not published are the Governments, Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist party.
Dr. McCrea: It is always helpful whenever people who oppose my party ask questions, and I am happy to answer the hon. Gentleman. There was no agreement. Certain Government proposals were made and we took certain positions, but no agreement was entered into. Let us make that abundantly clear. We are tied by nothing. Many things were suggested by the British Government, the Irish Government and the American Government. Whenever we think of the current situation with regard to decommissioning, did not they all accept that it had to be verifiable? Did not they all say that photographic evidence would be essential? Where did that go? There was no agreement. That is the proof of it.
As far as the DUP is concerned, we were honourable in anything that we entered into and in the talks that we had with our Government. We have told them exactly where we stand and the principles on which we stand. I assure the House that our manifesto shows that we have stood four-square on what we promised the people we would do. There are no back-door deals as far as the DUP is concerned. We have an honest, open-door
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policy because we have nothing to hide from the people. The Ulster Unionist party knew the folly of doing back-door deals and saw where it got them. My party is not entering into any sordid deal, unlike the Ulster Unionists. We want everything to be verifiable and open. We certainly want our Government to deal honourable and decently with us as democrats.
I thought that the hon. Gentleman was going to talk about the victims commissioner. The position of victims commissioner is no gift to anyone. Remember that we are talking about victimspeople who have been butchered and slaughtered by terrorists. To give us a commissioner as a concession to a society is totally wrong. He did not mention how the Chief Commissioner for Human Rights and others were appointedto the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, for instance. There was little or no representation from the majority community, but that does not seem to bother certain hon. Members. However, they are stung whenever someone who has been a victim herself heads up a victims commission. Who else would do that other than a victim?
Mark Durkan: I reassure the hon. Gentleman that I have not attacked the concept of a victims commissioner. When the Secretary of State made his statement a couple of weeks ago, we welcomed that office. We also wanted the commitment made in the joint declaration to a forum for victims and survivors to be brought forward. One could work with the other. I was critical of the way in which the Government appointed the victims commissioner because the only party with which they consulted was the DUP. I agree that we are talking about victims. They did not choose to be victims and they are from all sorts of backgrounds. The appointment should not be on the say-so of one party alone.
Dr. McCrea: I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has an insight that no one else has. He thinks that the Government only spoke to one group. I do not know that. I do not know how he has that information. Perhaps he is privy to a special document. All I am saying is that the person who is appointed as victims commissioner should represent genuine victims of the tragedy of our Province. The lady herself is truly a victim and we should salute her and others who have honourably withstood all the terrorism committed against them by the Provisional IRA, the Irish National Liberation Army and other illegal and terrorist organisations.
Rev. Ian Paisley:
The hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) will know, as the world knows, that this lady is only temporary. She has been appointed for only a year. The appointment was not permanent. To say that she was not appointed properly is a red herring, an accusation made by people who had to scrape the bottom of the pot to find something against her. The DUP does not believe that the Chief Commissioner for Human Rights was appointed properly. She does not represent the proper score of the people of Northern Ireland. She has taken action and slandered Members of this House, yet she is supposed to be a proper person to administer human rights. Nor do I think that a person from the Irish Republic who knows nothing about
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Northern Ireland should have been appointed to the Equality Commission. Yet we have had no loud protest from the hon. Gentleman about those appointments. They were all right because they represented his part of the country.
It is disgusting that the Irish Republic can put its nose into the affairs of Northern Ireland in relation to on-the-runs and such legislation. To me, the murderers of the policemen of Northern Ireland are equal to the murderers of Gerry McCabe, and yet as far as legislation and the Irish Republic are concerned, they are to be treated differently. But the Government will allow those who murdered the police officers and the members of the security forces in Northern Ireland an amnesty in all but name, and that is sickening to the people of Northern Ireland.
Mr. Peter Robinson : I am a little concerned and I wonder whether my hon. Friend shares my concern. The victims commissioner's role, of its nature, deals with sensitive issues. It is a difficult job, assisting people who have been massively disadvantaged in life because of the act of evil men and women. The hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) may well have misgivings about the processes, but will my hon. Friend join me in urging him to put those behind him and give support to the victims commissioner in the crucial task that she has ahead?
Mark Durkan: The hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) is right. Our misgivings and criticism are not of the person who has been appointed, or even of the concept of the office itself. We have spent a long time saying that more needs to be done for victims, with victims. That is why, whenever the proposal for a victims commissioner has been made, we have always said that there should also be a forum for victims and survivors, because both could work well together to take matters forward. I will have no hesitation in meeting and working positively with the victims commissioner. I want to see a forum for victims and survivors working alongside her and her successor.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving that support to the victims commissioner, which will be of great support as she takes this heart-rending responsibility upon her shoulders and deals with the many others who have been in a similar position to her.
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We are asked to believe the word of terrorists that terrorism is over. Is that true? We all know that in the past the IRA has been good at using its surrogates. When it did not want to be associated with a certain action, it used what are now called dissident republicans. It had terrorist organisations that it was happy to use whenever it suited them for a particular occasion. I challenge the Minister to tell the House how many people have been removed from their homes in recent months on the advice of the security forces. How many have had to be removed from their homes since the IRA statement? It is all right to tell the world that the war is over, but in recent weeks constituents of mine with employment in a republican area have had to give that up because they were under threat from republicans, as have those of other hon. Members. If the war is over, why have people been moved out of their house under threat of death? This must be challenged, because in the past the IRA has used other organisations
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