Ian Paisley rejects Sinn Fein nomination

Monday, May 22, 2006

Logo of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Ian Paisley

Plans to restart the Northern Ireland Assembly failed today as the controversial Democratic Unionist Party leader and Protestant evangelist Ian Paisley rejected the nomination by Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams for him to be First Minister of a new Northern Ireland Executive. Gerry Adams nominated his colleague, Martin McGuinness, the deputy leader of Sinn Fein to be the Deputy First Minister.

Britain restarted a shadow version of the Assembly last week for the first time in 3 1/2 years to form a power sharing home rule government made up Catholics and Protestants by a November 24 as directed by the Belfast Agreement. However, accusations of a spy ring lead to the suspension of the Assembly and direct rule from London was reinstated in 2002.

Adams rose to his feet and uttered the following "I want to move that Iain Paisley be returned as First Minister and Martin McGuinness be returned as Deputy First Minister on the restoration of devolved government," in Gaelic before translating it for the rest of the Assembly to understand.

After being asked by Speaker Eileen Bell, "Dr. Paisley, do you accept the nomination as first minister on restoration of a devolved government?"

Paisley rejected the nomination instantly stating "Certainly not, madam! And I think it goes without saying that the reasons are known well throughout this province, and they've been endorsed by the majority of unionist voters."

Paisley further more stated, "Are we going to have in the government of Northern Ireland those who are terrorists, those that condoned and even planned murders, who robbed banks, who committed criminal acts and who will not support the police?" The DUP will not support Sinn Fein until the Irish Republican Army disbands, renounces crime and Sinn Fein accepts the Police Service of Northern Ireland, something it has refused to do for decades during the time of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The United States Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, stated "We need to start getting on with business, talking to each other, trying to work out some of the problems today, not leaving them until the last minute."

The Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday.