Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

24 November 2006: NI Assembly 'in transition'

Northern Ireland Assembly

Ian Paisley has made many significant statements in the Assembly, but the then DUP leader told the house that this was one of the most important.

A transitional assembly was installed and an election confirmed.

But Northern Ireland was facing a crisis and it needed "divine strength", he said.

The plan for the political way forward comprised the pillars of power-sharing and support for policing, which at this stage Sinn Féin had not yet endorsed.

Mr Paisley insisted that all of those in political power had to give their backing to both. Facing Sinn Féin on the opposition benches, the DUP leader blamed the party for obstructing progress and said there could be no movement until it fulfilled its obligations.

The DUP refused to make a nomination for the position of First Minister, with Mr Paisley ending his speech by employing the defiant phrase of Martin Luther: "Here I stand."

Taking a different approach, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was quick to nominate "my friend Martin McGuinness for the position of Deputy First Minister".

He said he agreed with Mr Paisley that it was an important day and that he believed all parties could overcome the challenges ahead.

As the sitting continued, MLAs were unaware that outside the chamber, loyalist killer Michael Stone was being wrestled by security staff as he attempted to burst into Parliament buildings in a bid to kill Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness.

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