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"Northern Ireland needs consitutional stability" says Allister

19 April 2004

Speaking at a meeting of the Strangford Association of the DUP in Newtownards this evening, Jim Allister said, “The utterly flawed Belfast Agreement had many defects, but one of its greatest was that it was not a settlement but a mere staging post arrangement.  As such, it generated rather than diminished instability.


One of its main aids to instability and confirmation of its ultimate intent was its mechanism to test every 7 years if Ulster was willing to have Irish unity.  Little wonder thinking unionists rejected the Belfast Agreement as destructive of the Union.  It is institutionalised instability which the DUP seeks to address in our “North South East West” proposals.


If a settlement is to be attained then it can only be built on a foundation of constitutional stability.  An agreement which is so ambiguous that both nationalists and unionists can pretend it aids their stance is doomed to disappoint and fail.


Whatever the propaganda of Sinn Fein and its sentimental wish list for 2016, it is indisputably clear that there is no prospect of constitutional change in Northern Ireland for at least a generation, and I believe for much longer.  That reality should be turned to the advantage of us all in NI, by providing the basis upon which the maximum co-operation can be built both within Northern Ireland and between north and south.


This is why the DUP has identified that the key to unlocking the door to real political progress lies in acceptance of the reality that there will and can be no constitutional change for at least a generation.  Cross community acceptance of that reality would revolutionise the political possibilities and enable inter-party co-operation to be maximised in circumstances where such co-operation could only be, and be seen to be, for mutual benefit, rather than misused for insurgent political ends.


Hence, at a stroke, residual unionist reservations about power-sharing and north/south co-operation are removed and nationalists attain maximum equality and involvement while preserving their aspiration but accepting the practical reality of the Union.  It’s a win, win all round.


IRA/Sinn Fein may prefer to chase the moonbeam of Irish unity, with false hype and false promise, but thinking nationalists should carefully ponder the immense benefit and significance of what is being offered”.


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NI politics