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Northern Ireland Assembly

Tuesday 8 May 2001 (continued)

Mr Morrow:

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive last year produced a detailed action plan to deal with both debt prevention and recovery. This included the introduction of a debt counselling service, more emphasis on repossession where debtors have the means to pay but refuse to do so and greater publicity about the action taken to recover debt. In the new common selection scheme introduced on 6 November 2000, there are disqualification criteria which permit a landlord to disqualify certain applicants from housing. For example, under the scheme the Housing Executive can disqualify an applicant who owes an amount equal to or greater than four times the full weekly rent and rates in relation to a previous tenancy and who has not made an agreement to repay.

Another example is where the Housing Executive is satisfied on reasonable grounds that in the last two years the applicant was guilty of serious antisocial behaviour.

I am satisfied that these measures will help to address some of the problems of rent arrears and antisocial behaviour. I am acutely aware, however, that the actions of a few tenants can be costly, both financially and with regard to the physical and social damage they inflict. I will therefore monitor the situation to determine if further action is needed.

Mr Shannon:

The six months are just up. Can the Minister indicate the numbers of tenants with rent arrears in the period 1 November 2000 until 6 May 2001? The timescale might prevent the Minister from answering. Furthermore, can he indicate whether there has been a downward trend in the numbers of antisocial tenants? Does the Minister agree with all the Members that the antisocial behaviour of some tenants has become quite atrocious and is a scourge upon society, especially in the Housing Executive estates represented by many of us? I welcome the fact that the Minister will monitor the situation, but what action will be taken through that process?

Mr Morrow:

I agree with the Member's saying that antisocial tenants who cause havoc in social housing developments are unacceptable. He asked if I believed it was on the downward trend, and the honest answer is that I do not. We will, however, check our statistics for figures relating to that matter, and I will have them passed on to him.

I also refer him to the fact that a new Housing Bill is being brought forward. That legislation will in parts deal specifically with antisocial behaviour. When that legislation has gone through the Assembly, we can refer to it to deal with the very things which concern the Member and all of us here.

4.00 pm

Housing Selection Process


Mrs Courtney

asked the Minister for Social Development to outline how the new housing selection process will work.

(AQO 1414/00)

Mr Morrow:

Applicants are placed on a waiting list from which offers of tenancies of Housing Executive and housing association properties are made. Points are awarded to an applicant depending on certain factors such as current home conditions and security of tenure. As a general rule a tenancy is offered to the applicant with the highest points.

Mr Deputy Speaker:

The time is up.

Mr B Hutchinson:

On a point of order under Standing Order 19(2)(b), Mr Deputy Speaker. The Member for South Down, Mr McGrady, asked a question. Unfortunately I did not hear the end of what he said. However, I think that there was an inference in it, which is not allowed, about malpractice by the voluntary housing groups. The Minister should be given an opportunity to respond. Please read Hansard tomorrow and make a ruling on that, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr Deputy Speaker:


(Mr Speaker in the Chair)


No Confidence in Minister of Education


Mr Speaker:

Order. A valid petition of concern in respect of the motion of no confidence in the Minister of Education was tabled on Thursday 3 May. Having checked the petition, I regard it as fulfilling the requirements of Standing Order 27 with regard to the vote that is to take place at the conclusion of the debate today. Any vote on the motion will be on a cross-community basis. Members wishing to inspect the petition of concern may obtain copies from the Business Office.

Mr P Robinson:

I beg to move

That this Assembly has no confidence in the Minister of Education, Mr Martin McGuinness MP.

I move the motion in the name of the Member for North Belfast, Nigel Dodds, and myself.

At about eight o'clock on the morning of Thursday 27 January 1972 a car with five police officers was travelling along Creggan Road towards Rosemount RUC station. One terrorist gunman standing in an alleyway opened fire on it. About 40 or 50 yards further down the road two other terrorists, one with a Thompson sub-machine gun, also opened fire on the vehicle. The car was hit about 17 times. As a result of that terrorist attack two police officers were murdered and another injured. One of the men who was brutally murdered came from your constituency and mine, Mr Speaker. He was David John Montgomery, a 20-year-old Protestant from Cregagh. Peter Gilgunn, a 26-year-old married Roman Catholic RUC sergeant with a six-month-old son from Belcoo in County Fermanagh was murdered with him.

The cowards who carried out the attack were following the orders of the then adjutant of the so-called Derry brigade of the Provisional IRA. That Londonderry terrorist group has long been regarded as one of the most murderous and evil, even by the blood-stained, loathsome standards of that organisation. It has been responsible for dozens of murders of innocent people.

Adjutant, of course, is not the entry level for terrorist recruits. Before a command is given, recruits have to earn their bloody spurs. This adjutant rose through the ranks, and, according to newspaper reports, he did so with speed and determination, plying his terror trade with ruthlessness and fury. Again, it was reported in newspapers that, as a trigger man, he was responsible for the death of over 12 soldiers. However, security sources would put the figure much higher than that.

He was an officer in the IRA in Londonderry when hundreds of killings were ordered, and it was only the vigilance of the security forces, the ineptness of his own terrorist gunmen and bombers and the hand of God that reduced the tally.

He did not remain in this local command for long. He catapulted himself up the organisation structure, and eventually he became the terror group's chief of staff. He held that position from 1978 until 1982. During that period alone, the IRA, under his command, murdered 327 people, and he remains one of the seven members of the IRA's Army Council.

A document was sent to my home recently, and I read it out in the House of Commons. The document outlines the present Army Council membership of the IRA. It indicates that the chief of staff is Thomas Murphy, and the assistant chief is Brian Keenan. The other members are Martin McGuinness, Gerard Adams, Martin Ferris, Patrick Doherty and Brian Gillen. The headquarters staff are as follows: the quartermaster is Kevin Agnew; the adjutant general is Martin Lynch; Bernard Fox is in charge of the engineering department; the director of education is James Monaghan; the director of finances is Patrick Thompson; the operations officer is Sean Hughes; the director of intelligence is Robert Storey; and Patrick Murphy and Kevin McBride are in charge of internal security - although I suspect that they will have to get new jobs after this. These are the people in charge of the Provisional IRA today. That information is on the record at the of Commons, and it is now on record in this House.

In the early days of the Assembly, I made a reference in the Chamber to IRA/Sinn Féin. The now Minister of Education rose on a series of points of order and objected to any relationship between the IRA and Sinn Féin's being mentioned. He demanded that you force me to withdraw the reference, Mr Speaker. Happily you did not. In the light of the facts that are now available, the public will look at those weasel words, and I hope that we will never again have the pretence that Sinn Féin and the IRA are anything other than synonymous. We should never again listen to the Minister of Education or his Colleagues dodge questions about the IRA by insisting that they do not speak for them.

According to that document, Mr McGuinness is a member of the Army Council of the IRA, which has sanctioned the murder of thousands of men, women and children in and outside Northern Ireland. Now, while still a member of the IRA's Army Council, Mr McGuinness is the Minister of Education with the responsibility for moulding the minds of thousands of young people.

Last Friday another murder occurred in Belfast. Patrick Daly, a 38-year-old father of four, was shot in front of his partner and 12-year-old daughter. Apparently, up to 10 bullets were pumped into him, and he was left lying dead on the street. Again, the security forces understand that the IRA is responsible. This assassination will have been sanctioned by the IRA's Army Council. The Minister of Education combines his duties in this House with membership of an Army Council that makes decisions to murder human beings.

Last week Mr McGuinness admitted that he was a leader of the IRA in 1972. However, he did not tell us what his present position in that organisation is. He cannot build a convenient wall around one day in January 1972 and answer questions on his activities that day, while blocking out awkward questions about his role in the IRA before and afterwards. His action exemplifies the sheer double standards that he shares with his associates. They demand that the facts be unearthed about incidents that concern them, but he will refuse to give any details about his activity, and that of the IRA, in the periods before and after Bloody Sunday.

He says that he is giving evidence "to get to the truth of what happened on that day". However, he does not want to help anyone get to the truth of what happened at the hands of the IRA on all the other days. He demands to know the identity of soldiers involved in the city that day, but he will refuse to reveal the identities of his IRA colleagues who were in the city on that and other days.

He complained in the 'Belfast Telegraph' last Monday that the army is "trying to get away with murder". Surely that is a charge that could equally be made against him. He claims that he wants to give evidence so that he can help the families to come to terms with what has happened. However, he refuses to give evidence about his actions and the activities of his fellow travellers that would allow the families of thousands of IRA victims to come to terms with their loss and hardship.

Are Nationalists the only people entitled to inquiries? Are Unionist deaths and the deaths of members of the security forces less worthy of investigation? Are the families of Unionist victims and members of the security forces not entitled to the opportunity to ask questions and get answers about the circumstances of their loved ones' murder?

Mr Speaker, I demand an inquiry into the activities of the Provisional IRA in the north-west of our Province during the period when the Minister of Education was in command of that terrorist organisation. People have the right to know the full details, not the selective propaganda droplets offered by Mr McGuinness and the IRA. The Attorney-General may have provided some limited immunity from prosecution to witnesses appearing before the Saville Inquiry, but an admission made outside the inquiry, at a press conference, is not covered by that shield. Therefore, there is no bar to a prosecution of Mr McGuinness. His admission at the press conference is evidence that can be used in a court of law.

In the light of the lengths that nations go to in order to ensure that those responsible for war crimes are tracked down and brought to justice, the victims of IRA atrocities demand action. The heinous crimes carried out by the IRA over the last 30 years rank alongside the worst of those brought before war crimes tribunals. In neither case should position or expediency protect those responsible for such grotesque murders. However, the Minister of Education has enjoyed protection from prosecution in Northern Ireland for many years. While the evidence piled up against him, the Establishment wanted him to stay out of prison, as they were negotiating a deal to buy off the IRA through him.

That is in spite of evidence from people such as Rose Hegarty, the mother of Frank Hegarty. Mr McGuinness lured her son back from England, gave her repeated assurances of her son's safety and informed her that while her son would have to attend a meeting across the border, "nothing would happen to Frank". Mr McGuinness even told her that he would bring him home himself. Frank Hegarty never returned home alive. He was shot and his body dumped by the roadside. The families of all those who are the victims of the IRA, under the leadership that Mr McGuinness now admits, should now take action against him in the courts.

His statement and our motion drew different responses, and I want briefly to deal with some of them. Sinn Féin/ IRA's response to this motion was to describe it as a DUP pre-election stunt. Yet the timing was Sinn Féin/ IRA's, not ours. They determined when and how Mr McGuinness made his public statement. We simply reacted to that statement. If it is an election stunt, it is Sinn Féin/IRA's election stunt.

4.15 pm

There were several strands of reaction to the Minister of Education's statement. First, there were those who welcomed what they described as "the Minister's open and frank confession". The truth is that it was not a confession, it was a boast. He wears his IRA leadership as a badge of honour. He gloats over his association with that terrorist organisation. He has not come clean. He is only providing a snippet to suit his propaganda purposes and aid the IRA's attempt at revisionism.

IRA demands for inquiries are not an attempt to find the facts; they are an attempt to rewrite history and justify its campaign of murder and destruction. There was no glimpse of repentance in Mr McGuinness's statement. It was not accompanied by an apology - indeed, it did not even refer to the crimes that he might have committed in that organisation, nor did it list them. Critically, there was no commitment to leave behind his association with that terrorist organisation. His statement was entirely self-serving and cynical.

Secondly, there were those who considered that there was nothing new in the Education Minister's admitting holding a leadership role in the IRA. I will leave the difference between an allegation and an admission to the side, as I do not want to rest my case on that distinction. I have long known of Mr McGuinness's position in the IRA and the activities in which he was engaged. I know of his continuing role in that organisation, and of the IRA's unbroken terrorist activity.

With that knowledge, I opposed, at the time of the referendum and ever since, any role for Mr McGuinness or his unrepentant associates in the Government of Northern Ireland. No one by their vote would put in to Government someone in whom they had no confidence. No one would set up a Government in which it was an obligation to provide places for people they considered completely unfit to hold office. On that basis I must conclude that the Ulster Unionist Party either knew about Mr McGuinness's IRA association but considered that in spite of his record and previous relationship with the IRA, he and his Sinn Féin/IRA colleagues were suitable candidates for ministerial office and had confidence in them - except, it seems, at election times - or that the Members on the UUP Benches did not know, or were uncertain, of the nature and extent of the relationship that Sinn Féin has with terrorism.

It may be hard to understand, but if there is a change of heart, here is an opportunity to vote accordingly. We all face the question -

Mr Speaker:

I must ask the Member to bring his remarks to a close.

Mr P Robinson:

Is our society going to turn a blind eye to the activities of the "Bogside butcher"? Are we going to continue with this unseemly and immoral sham? This House can decide whether it has confidence in Mr McGuinness - I do not.

Mr Kennedy:

This is a very important debate. How much time has been allocated to each Member?

Mr Speaker:

It has been agreed through the usual channels that the proposer will have 15 minutes, the person winding-up will have 10 minutes, the response from the Minister, either by himself or on his behalf, will be 20 minutes, and all others will have five minutes.

Mr Kennedy:

Then I must hasten on.

It is clear that events have, in their own way, overrun this motion. The actions outlined by my party Colleague and leader, the First Minister, in the House this morning clearly create new circumstances for this motion. It is very clear to the people of Northern Ireland and the Members of this House that a timetable is in place whereby the Republican movement must live up to its obligation or face the consequences.

Through the many changes and political shenanigans of recent years, the Ulster Unionist Party has attempted to bring political stability to Northern Ireland and its people. The people of Northern Ireland, by and large, recognise those efforts. They understand the risks and appreciate what the Ulster Unionist Party has sought to achieve in all of this. We have given opportunities for those from paramilitary groups to mend their ways, to change and to effect change. It is a matter of grave regret that they have not responded to those challenges.

It is a matter of huge regret that SDLP members have not lived up to their obligations over many months and years. They have not wanted to carry any burden for the agreement or for the political process. They have simply attempted to get a free ride on the back of the Ulster Unionist Party. This morning's events will clearly put the SDLP in the position of having to make its mind up. The indication by the SDLP that it will not be supporting the motion means, in real terms, that the motion is doomed to failure. Much could be said about that, but I must say to the SDLP that time is fast running out. The party must, therefore, take its stand, and we look forward to that.

I have, as Members will know, opposed the Republican movement inside and outside the House. I have attempted to do that in practical, political ways, as have my party Colleagues. We will continue to do so.

I want now to deal with the status of the current Minister of Education. We remember the reaction, in particular in the Unionist community, when that appointment was made. The political parties made that appointment. It was their choice, and people did not know who that individual would be. Nevertheless, it did cause major shock waves in the Unionist community.

Martin McGuinness's membership of the IRA is probably the worst-kept secret in the history of Northern Ireland. Everybody knew; the dogs in the street - to use that phrase - knew. It has been well documented and known. The question that has to be put to the Minister of Education - and I pose it now - is whether he is still a member of the IRA. He will have the opportunity to answer that in specific terms in the debate today.

Anybody can be a Minister in the Assembly, given the amount of officials in place and the help that exists. It is also important to say that the doctrines of the main Christian faiths, in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, depend on forgiveness - but forgiveness comes after repentance. It is clear that the Minister of Education has not repented. Therefore the Ulster Unionist Party can have no confidence in the Minister of Education. The motion cannot and will not change his status, and the Ulster Unionist Party will pursue its own strategic aims to ensure that proper democracy is restored to the people of Northern Ireland.

Mr Speaker:

The Member's time is up.

Mr P Doherty:

A Cheann Comhairle, go raibh maith agat. The DUP in its motion is calling for the exclusion of the Education Minister. On many previous occasions, the DUP has called for the banning of Sinn Féin on the grounds that it believes that our party supports violence. Let us have a look at the DUP's own record and its own history. Let us go back to the same period - [Interruption]

Are members of the DUP afraid of their own history, of their violent past and sectarian background?

As long ago as 1969, before the founding of the DUP, the Cameron report was highly critical of Ian Paisley. The report stated

"In the face of the mass of evidence from both police and civilian sources as to the extent to which the supporters of Dr Paisley and Major Bunting were armed at Armagh and on the occasion of the People's Democracy march to Londonderry, it is idle to pretend that these were peacefully directed protest meetings."

Cameron concluded

"Both these gentlemen and the organisations with which they are so closely and authoritatively concerned must, in our opinion, bear a heavy share of direct responsibility for the disorders in Armagh and at Burntollet Bridge."

That is the view shared by almost all Northern Nationalists. Other Unionists often blame Paisley and his associates for stopping the demand to concede civil rights and stopping the progress of Unionism within the Six Counties.

Since the DUP was founded two decades ago, it has marched with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA); it has organised a series of strikes in conjunction with Loyalist paramilitaries; it has helped establish Ulster Resistance; it has taken over towns in conjunction with armed and masked Loyalists and it has supported the procurement of weapons by Loyalists. We understand that the DUP stands for bigotry and sectarianism. Which part of the word "hypocrisy" does it not understand? It has always supported the use of violence, as long as it is directed at Republicans and Nationalists, and it has always been prepared to threaten violence to advance its own narrow political agenda. It has openly colluded with Loyalism and incited violence against Nationalists for nearly 30 years, and it has consistently indulged in anti-Nationalist and anti-Catholic diatribes.

I will list the organisations with which the DUP has been associated: the National Union of Protestants and the Ulster Protestant Action Group, part of whose manifesto says:

"To keep Protestant and loyal workers in employment, in times of recession, in preference to their Catholic fellow workers"

Mr P Robinson:

Mr Speaker, is there an alternative agenda of which we have not been made aware? The motion on the Order Paper is a motion of no confidence in the Minister of Education. We are almost four minutes into Mr Doherty's speech, and no reference has been made to any of the issues contained in the motion. It might be useful if he touched on it once or twice.

Mr Speaker:

The Member will have heard that heartfelt plea.

This is a motion of no confidence; it is not an exclusion motion, which is a different kind of motion. The Member started his speech by talking about this as being an exclusion motion.

Mr P Doherty:

Peter Robinson does not like to hear his past record made public.

It has been involved with other associations: Protestant Unionists, the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, the Ulster Workers' Council, the United Unionist Action Council, Vanguard, the Independent Unionist Group, the Orange Order, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, the UDA, the UVF and the Red Hand Commandos.

A Member:

The Boy Scouts.

Mr P Doherty:

You probably attempted to corrupt the Boy Scouts as well.

Ian Paisley was elected MP for North Antrim in the seventies. That August he was calling for the rearming of the RUC, the reintroduction of the B-Specials and internment against Nationalists. He was pictured marching with masked Loyalist paramilitaries during the Ulster Workers' Council strike in May 1974. In 1975, William McCrea officiated at the funeral of a UVF man who was killed blowing up the Miami showband. In 1976 Clifford Smyth stated that when he was secretary of the United Ulster Unionist Council, Peter Robinson approached him in June of that year with a suggestion that that party should set up a paramilitary wing. A senior UDA figure also stated that they were approached-[Interruption]

Mr Speaker:

The Member's time is up.

4.30 pm

Mr Ford:

Sinn Féin's attitude to the fact that this debate is taking place today seems to be a little surprising. As Mr Peter Robinson said, the entire issue was started off by Sinn Féin spin-doctors drip - feeding Mr McGuinness's role in Bloody Sunday to the press. He subsequently made a statement to the Saville inquiry, and then made a statement publicly. However, Sinn Féin Members are saying that we should not be allowed to discuss such an issue in the Chamber. It seems to be acceptable to have it in the papers at their whim, but not to have it discussed in the Assembly.

Last week, I was surprised to find that within an hour of the Business Committee meeting's ending, three journalists rang me up asking not how I voted, but why I voted the way I did. I understood that Business Committee meetings were confidential.

Let me make it quite clear that I believe that my role in the Business Committee is to help form an Order Paper which contains business that is relevant for the Assembly. I find it difficult to suggest that an issue of this level of concern is not one that the Assembly ought to debate. If the activities of Mr McGuinness can be discussed on buses, in bars and over teacups, they should surely be suitable for discussion here. It appears that we have, in Sinn Féin, a desire for a type of Stalinist state in which all criticism of Ministers is banned. That is not my idea of an inclusive system of government. I voted to list the motion, because it is important enough that it should be discussed.

Let us look at the motion. On the face of it, the motion is one of no confidence in a Minister. That is what anybody might have believed until they heard the proposer start to speak. Actually, there was nothing in the debate that referred to the activities of a Minister. It was entirely an attack on an individual and on an individual's past record. It is nothing to do with his role as a Minister, which is surely the only way in which a motion of no confidence in a Minister could have been competently proposed. Indeed, I suggest that as regards his performance as a Minister so far, Mr McGuinness is by no means the worst we have seen in this place, either in its current incarnation or in its previous ones in this Building. Of course, that was not the point of the debate.

Nobody should be in any doubt about where my party stands on the issue of political violence. Nobody should be in any doubt that we have been opposed to paramilitary violence from the day of our party's formation. It is absolutely clear that there are plenty of people in the Chamber who will point the finger at Republican violence and conveniently forget their own records and those of their Colleagues over the years.

I do not wish to go through the same list that Mr Pat Doherty produced, but it seems to me that the threats that accompanied the Ulster Worker's Council (UWC) strike, the Third Force and the dog licences up Slemish mountain are not unconnected with the prospect of political violence. Indeed, it seems to me that the word "hypocrisy" might just possibly be suggested in respect of the behaviour of some people in pointing fingers and ignoring records amongst their friends.

Assembly Members are well aware of what the agreement provided as regards how the institutions would be set up. Some people did not like it, but the great majority of us accepted that the new institutions were being set up to be inclusive; people accepted that and backed us in a referendum; they wanted a new start.

Today we have seen behaviour that is typical of the DUP. They want to attack, to complain and to criticise. Some of it is directed at Sinn Féin, but their real target remains the Ulster Unionist Party. Whether the timing was theirs, this has certainly come very conveniently as an election stunt for them. Indeed, the UUP leader's response earlier today shows that, perhaps, he now feels the need to outdo the DUP. Mr Kennedy almost admitted that.

I ought to warn the DUP about the dangers of their approach. They want to wound the UUP and the agreement, but they clearly do not want to bring it down. They love this place too much; they want a working Assembly, and they believe in devolution. If they provoke the kind of reactions that they got from the UUP leader's statement earlier, they might find that he and his party Colleagues will bring down the agreement and destroy the Assembly that they actually love.

Let us remember that the UUP have the capacity to destroy the agreement, which the DUP clearly do not. Sadly, it appears that the DUP's antics in bringing the motion have been matched by the UUP. The DUP muck- slinging about Sinn Féin has already been replicated by Sinn Féin's muck-slinging about the DUP. The people who returned us to this place on a wave of optimism three years ago deserve rather better than the debate has proved. The motion should be rejected.

Mr Boyd:

I support this motion of no confidence in Martin McGuinness. This is a very solemn matter. The pro-Union community is completely opposed to an Executive that includes in it the architects of the Republican terrorism that has been directed against us for 30 years while the IRA retains its arsenal and its structures for use at its discretion. Such a situation is totally unacceptable.

Martin McGuinness and his colleagues in Sinn Féin/IRA do not share the common desire of ordinary people in Northern Ireland for stability. They are committed to a revolutionary principle. For Martin McGuinness, the Assembly is merely a transitional stage in that revolution, and whether that struggle is defined as armed or unarmed depends on the degree of violence that the Government are prepared to tolerate in the name of a so-called peace process. In the 'The Irish News' on 23 June 1986, Martin McGuinness, the Minister of Education, was quoted as saying:

"Freedom can only be gained at the point of an IRA rifle and I apologise to no one for saying that we support and admire the freedom fighters of the IRA".

After the Londonderry City Council elections on 16 May 1985, the so-called Minister of Education, Mr Martin McGuinness, also stated

"We don't believe that winning elections and winning any amount of votes will bring freedom to Ireland - at the end of the day it will be the cutting edge of the IRA that will bring freedom".

Let us examine the attitude of the SDLP. The SDLP is a party that throughout 30 years of terror has constantly condemned violence but has not hesitated to profit politically from it. This motion presents SDLP Members with a clear choice between supporting the democratic process and the integrity of the rule of law or endorsing Sinn Féin/IRA's participation in the Executive while retaining its terrorists' arsenal and structures. If SDLP Members support Martin McGuinness in Government, as they clearly do, they render themselves indistinguishable from Sinn Féin/IRA.

Martin McGuinness and his Sinn Féin cohorts tell us that they are interested in human rights, yet the instruments of torture in the IRA's armoury are many and varied. They include guns, explosives, baseball bats, golf clubs, nail-studded clubs, pickaxe handles, hammers, sledgehammers, hurley sticks, axes, hatchets, drills and many others things.

The pro-Union community rejects an Executive that includes the architects of terrorism such as Martin McGuinness, who has revelled in his IRA role. Such a situation is totally unacceptable.

I quote from 'The Informer' by Sean O'Callaghan, one of Sinn Féin/IRA's and Martin McGuinness's previous cohorts.

"The so-called Minister, Martin McGuinness, has been an active Republican since 1970. He was Chief of Staff of the IRA from 1977 to 1982. He has been a member of the IRA Army Council since 1976. He has held the position of OC Northern command".

In August 1993, Central Television's 'The Cook Report' named him as Britain's number one terrorist. That is the man who now holds the position of Minister of Education in our Executive.

The IRA Army Council chooses the chief of staff. It has two primary responsibilities: to ensure that the IRA has the equipment to wage war and that the organisation operates at maximum efficiency. According to the informer Sean O'Callaghan, no chief of staff in recent years has carried anything like the internal influence of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. The IRA Army Council sanctioned the Canary Wharf bomb. Right up to the present day, Adams and Martin McGuinness have been firmly in charge of the Republican movement.

The IRA has murdered over 2,000 people in the last 30 years. Its lethal murder machine has got Martin McGuinness and Barbara Brown into the Executive, and not the ballot box, as they try to dupe many people into believing. The clear message today is that the innocent victims of terrorism still suffer. Their agony and suffering is compounded by the presence of unrepentant terrorists such as Martin McGuinness in the Government of Northern Ireland. Martin McGuinness, who by his own admission was a commander in the Provisional IRA, has been part of an organisation that has presided over the murders of over 2,000 citizens in Northern Ireland for which no apology has ever been forthcoming.

The crisis in education funding is a direct result of the 30-year terrorist campaign by the provisional IRA. That organisation will continue to murder, maim and carry out its criminal activities while it remains fully armed and intact. I call on all Unionists here to reject Sinn Féin/IRA representatives in the Government. We have endured 30 years of violence and terror. If the Assembly sends out the message that violence pays, we shall be heading for the abyss. If this motion fails, the message from the Assembly will be that democracy has died in Northern Ireland and that violence is rewarded with ministerial positions. I support the motion.


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