Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Wednesday, May 20, 1998 Published at 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK

Paisley: 'Agreement will dilute the union'

Ian Paisley: an energetic campaigner for the unionist cause

The leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, the Reverend Ian Paisley, has accused Tony Blair of failing to listen to his alternative to the Good Friday agreement.

Speaking on a BBC Radio Ulster phone-in, Dr Paisley, one of the leaders of the campaign for a No vote in Friday's referendum, said he was opposed to the agreement because it diluted the union.

He said the No campaign was doing exceptionally well, with support growing daily.

Speaking at a Belfast news conference later on Wednesday, the DUP leader accused Mr Blair of failing to listen to his alternative to the Stormont agreement.

"I went to Downing Street with my alternative and put it on the table and Mr Blair said `No. I have got Sinn Fein aboard with David Trimble. I don't need you. I'm not even going to read your alternative'."

Dr Paisley called the agreement a "wrecking" document.

"I would have thought the document that let gunmen on to the streets is a wrecking document.

"I would think that the document that says the police should be disarmed is a wrecking document.

"I think that the document that says you can hold onto your guns while you take the guns off the policemen is a wrecking document."

Dr Paisley said he did not believe a country could be built by "making a minority into a majority and a majority into a minority."

"That is what Sunningdale did and what this document is trying to do."

Speaking ahead Mr Blair's latest visit to the province, Dr Paisley said the prime minister's two previous visits had been flops, and predicted that a majority of unionists would vote against the agreement on Friday.

He accused the UK government of manipulation and of running a "bribery election". He claimed the government was saying: "If you vote Yes we are going to bring jobs and millions of pounds, Ulster is going to have a tiger economy". These were "lies," Dr Paisley said.

It has also been revealed that the No campaign is to put its own seal on the ballot boxes after polls close on Friday night. Dr Paisley said the No campaign requested the measure as it did not trust the government. Such a move is provided for under election legislation in the province and will be carried out by DUP polling agents.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©










Relevant Stories

19 May 98 | Focus
Profile - Ian Paisley