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McGuinness and Robinson caught out on Pledge of Office

22 June 2011

Statement by TUV Leader Jim Allister MLA:-

 “The first Question I tabled in the Assembly was in these terms:-
“To ask the First Minister and deputy First Minister, in relation to the pledge of office affirmed in order to hold office, to confirm whether the inherent reference to actively encouraging full co-operation with the PSNI in tackling crime includes police investigations of actions by the IRA which occurred before April 1998.”
“The enquiry as to whether the commitment to full co-operation with the PSNI in tackling crime bound them to help in regard to pre-April 1998 actions by the IRA, ought, one might have thought, to have admitted to a straightforward yes or no answer. Instead, it took over 5 weeks for the Joint First Ministers – and after complaint by me about the delay on the floor of the House – for them to come up with this classic in obfuscation:-                

“The Pledge of Office is set out in Schedule 4 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as amended. OFMDFM has no role in interpreting the Pledge of Office however the normal canons of statutory interpretation apply.”
“What is the problem in Martin McGuinness, if he is indeed now a supporter of law and order, saying that his support for co-operation with the police is unequivocal and unrestricted?  Genuine support for law and order is not an a la carte option.
“Yet, it is abundantly clear from this reply that McGuinness does not support the police in investigating IRA crime and, equally, that Robinson knows it and is content to acquiesce in this shameful situation. Sadly, in general, the media has been prepared to let both of them off the hook on this seminal issue – all as part of protecting the ambiguity which sustains ‘the peace process’.

“The much vaunted ‘Pledge of Office’ now stands exposed as a sham and a fraud. It is dressed up to con the gullible into believing it commits Ministers to unequivocally support law and order, whereas in reality it buys from Sinn Fein no support for the investigation of IRA crime. Hence, the continuing blanket of non co-operation on republican violence, including with the HET.”


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NI politics