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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
DUP wants rebuff for republicans
DUP leader Ian Paisley

The government must press on with moves to form a devolved government in Northern Ireland without Sinn Fein, the Democratic Unionists have said.

The party's election manifesto calls for a "clear message to be sent to republicans" that the political process will no longer wait for them.

It says if a voluntary coalition could not be set up, direct rule from Westminster should be more accountable.

The manifesto did not say when it would consider Sinn Fein fit to share power.

Earlier this month, UKUP leader Bob McCartney said he had been assured by the DUP leadership that it would take a generation before it would consider government with republicans.

DUP MANIFESTO
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Speaking at the manifesto launch, DUP leader Ian Paisley portrayed the election as the ultimate battle between Sinn Fein and his party.

"The only way that IRA/Sinn Fein can be defeated is if the DUP is declared by the majority of voters to be Northern Ireland's largest party and the authentic voice of Northern Ireland," he said.

He called for the electorate to deliver the "ultimate rebuff" to republicans saying it was "now or never".

"This can become Ulster's finest hour. May God define the right."

The main points of the DUP manifesto include:

  • Opposing the reduction of police numbers and moves to scrap the reserve and campaigning for the retention of smaller police stations, particularly in rural areas

  • Demanding a more balanced approach by the Assets Recovery Agency to the stripping of loyalist and republican paramilitaries and criminal gangs of the proceeds of crime

  • Supporting tougher sentences for those who commit crimes against the elderly, different treatment for those who perpetrate hate crimes, mandatory minimum custodial sentences for criminals who commit repeat burglaries, longer sentences for paedophiles and proper justice and support for victims of sex crimes, an imaginative approach to tackling alcohol-fuelled violence

  • Opposing plans to introduce water charges. However, the party said if ministers pressed ahead, the regional and domestic rates should be reduced to reflect the cost

  • Opposing plans to raise domestic rates and base them on the value of people's homes

  • Opposing plans to reform post-primary education on the grounds that it will threaten academic excellence and destroy grammar schools. It says ministers should not rule out selection based on academic ability

  • Demanding greater transparency and detailed audit trails for the health service, less bureaucracy, the same standards of care as other parts of the UK

  • Banning smoking in public places

  • Providing free public transport for people between 60 and 65, an increased state pension, free personal care for the elderly and for those who suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia, a deduction of 25% for senior citizens on all rates bills

  • Ending the beef export ban in Europe and ensuring farmers get a fairer price for their produce and reducing the influence of major supermarket chains

  • Supporting more streamlined and effective local government and a more joined up approach to waste management.



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