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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 06:23 GMT 07:23 UK
No McGuinness handshake - Paisley
Ian Paisley arriving earlier at Stormont
Ian Paisley won't shake hands with Martin McGuinness at ceremony
DUP leader Ian Paisley has said he will not shake hands with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness when they are sworn in as first and deputy first ministers.

Speaking on Tuesday night's Spotlight programme on BBC NI, Mr Paisley says the formality is not needed.

The pair will take up their new roles on 8 May when the new power-sharing executive is formed.

On Tuesday, they will jointly meet the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, at Stormont.

Speaking about the handshake, Mr Paisley said: "It's not handshaking we want, it's decision-making we want.

"It's not acting like two actors to impress people, the people are looking for results.

"We could shake hands 24 hours a day, but if we don't get this province of ours into a ship-shape economic condition what good's the handshaking?"

Talks

The first and deputy first ministers' talks with EC president Mr Barroso is expected to underpin EU support for power-sharing.

Earlier this month, Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness issued a joint request that the NI Secretary vacate his offices at Stormont.

They later issued their first joint statement - a message of sympathy to those affected by the Virginia Tech massacre.

Mr Barroso will also hold talks with Secretary of State Peter Hain.

Mr Barroso is due to visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday
Mr Barroso is due to visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday

Politicians are expected to lobby Mr Barroso for continued financial support for the peace process and to discuss other forms of co-operation.

Devolution is due to return to Northern Ireland on 8 May following an agreement by the DUP and Sinn Fein.

The president of the European Commission will visit Northern Ireland on his way back from the United States where he will be attending a European/US summit.

It is understood Mr Barroso's commission is on the verge of approving a series of new programmes which should benefit Northern Ireland and areas south of the border.

The various funds will amount to nearly 600m over the next six years - roughly half the amount spent in Northern Ireland over the past six years.





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