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The BBC's David Eades
"The DUP are enhancing their reputation as the Good Friday Agreement's wrecking crew"
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The BBC's David Eades at Stormont
"The DUP are enhancing their reputation as the Good Friday agreement wrecking crew"
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The BBC's Denis Murray
"The DUP is on a crusade"
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Ian Paisley Jr, DUP and Ken Maginnis, UUP
speaking on BBC Radio 4's 'The World at One'
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Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
DUP pledges Stormont disruption
Northern Ireland Assembly Executive
The DUP pledges to wreck the devolved government
The Democratic Unionist Party has announced plans to try to disrupt the newly restored power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland, if Sinn Fein is not expelled.

The party has said if it does not get enough support for an assembly motion to exclude republicans, its two ministers will resign.

It would need to win 60% backing for the proposal in the assembly, from its own members and Ulster Unionists sceptical at the return to devolved government, to exclude Sinn Fein.

We will deny whatever we can to the enemies of Ulster

Peter Robinson
If the party's motion is not passed by mid-June, DUP regional development minister Peter Robinson and social affairs minister Nigel Dodds will give up their posts.

But Mr Robinson said the party would fill the executive positions with DUP assembly members on a rotating basis, to prevent them being taken by pro-agreement supporters.

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson: We will expose concessions
"We will deny whatever we can to the enemies of Ulster," the DUP deputy leader said.

"We do not intend to play into Trimble's hands by allowing our ministers to be replaced by compliant agreement supporters.

"We shall not hesitate to be the whistle-blowers - exposing each of Trimble's further concessions to Sinn Fein/IRA."

At their press conference on Tuesday night, the first day of restored devolution, Mr Robinson and Mr Dodds said that the party would continue to boycott assembly executive and North/South ministerial council meetings as before.

DUP ministerial and committee post salaries are to be put into a new party fighting fund. The party's energies are be geared toward damaging the Ulster Unionists at the next Westminster election and discrediting the Good Friday Agreement.

However, speaking to Radio Ulster on Wednesday, Mr Robinson denied that the plan to rotate the ministers would hold back departmental work.

"We will ensure that our representatives are capable of doing those jobs, we will be putting the right people into those jobs, but we will not be tying anybody down, so it takes away from the key issue of defeating (David Trimble) electorally," he said.

DUP plan 'laughable'

Ulster Unionist MP Ken Maginnis said the DUP plan "would be laughable if it wasn't so serious".

Ulster Unionist MP Ken Maginnis
Ken Maginnis: DUP plan is noit aimed at helping people
"It's not to do with people, it's not to do with stability, it's not to do with progress and trying to save lives," he said.

"They don't give two hoots for the people of Northern Ireland."

The SDLP described the DUP's position as "a puerile and self-defeating game of musical chairs".

The SDLP's Mark Durkan, finance minister in the restored administration, said: "In taking office, ministers take a pledge to serve all the people of Northern Ireland equally.

Finance minister Mark Durkan
Mark Durkan:
"If people are taking office with this agenda then surely questions arise if they can take the pledge of office in good faith," he said.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson echoed his concern saying the DUP ministers had a responsibility to the people who had voted for them.

"If they want to continue in their posts they should stay in their posts. They should continue to represent all the people in Northern Ireland, but especially those who voted for them."

Mr Mandelson will meet Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen in Dublin on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments.

Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson: DUP should continue in posts
The two DUP posts would have been re-allocated to the Ulster Unionists and middle-ground Alliance Party, had the DUP pulled out.

News of the DUP's stance came on the first day of devolution after leaders from both sides of the political divide called on the parties to set differences aside and get on with the job of governing.

"It's not going to fail through want of effort on our part," Ulster Unionist leader and First Minister David Trimble told the BBC.

Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon, of the nationalist SDLP, said the most urgent issue was to "instil confidence" within the province that politics would work.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, who resumes his role as education minister said: "We're living in a time where there is constant hope among the people. We want to build a future for everybody," he said.

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See also:

30 May 00 | Northern Ireland
NI ministers retake posts
29 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Unionism's dissenting voices
28 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Vote deepens unionist rifts
27 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Stormont prepares for power
27 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Unionists back power-sharing
27 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Mixed reaction to devolution vote
27 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Returning to power
27 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Mandelson hails 'second chance'
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