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Allister opposes United Ireland- motion at debate in Cambridge Union

24 November 2005

Speaking in opposition to the motion, "This house believes the ultimate outcome for Northern Ireland is a united Ireland" at the Cambridge Union this evening, DUP MEP Jim Allister said, “Can I comment straightaway that I note Sinn Fein, having agreed to take part in this debate, in the end have run away.   So instead of "Brits Out" we have "Sinn Fein Out".

For years, the attempt to attain a United Ireland came through the barrel of a gun.  Now, it's through the politics of stealth.  The slight of hand that is the Belfast Agreement, is now the favoured weapon.  Through creeping harmonisation the same unacceptable goal of subverting Northern Ireland's position within the United Kingdom is advanced.  Little wonder the majority in Northern Ireland, who see their future, as is their democratic right, within a United Kingdom, not a United Ireland, reject the Belfast Agreement because of these machinations.

It is clear to me that this motion has been drafted in such a way as to ease its passage.  Hence the focus on Irish unity as an "ultimate solution".  It seems to be accepted that it is presently not a viable option. That in itself points to its irrelevance.  Maybe because being aspirational about a united Ireland is not enough for Sinn Fein, is the reason why they pulled out and ran away from this debate.

The constitutional affiliation of any region can only be determined by the will of its people.  Anything else is undemocratic, repressive and contrary to international law. So not even the erudite of Cambridge can make the choice for the people of Northern Ireland.  And, for that reason alone you should not support a motion which prescribes the future of my part of the United Kingdom.

It indisputably is the settled will of the greater number in Northern Ireland that it should and must remain an integral part of the UK.  In making that free choice we are not under the compulsion of any British Government or other agency, but we make our democratic choice informed by our history, culture, affinity and economic well-being.

No, the only compulsion at work on the constitutional issue in Northern Ireland has been the shameful compulsion of the bombs and bullets of the IRA, as they tried and failed to coerce us into an all-Ireland Republic.

Make no mistake the cause of Irish unity, the cause that the proponents of this motion want you to espouse, is a cause besmirched by gruesome terrorism.  Sanitise it as you will, rationalise a distinction between ends and means as you might, but the cause that you are being asked to promote is one indelibly stained with the blood of the innocent.

Hundreds and hundreds of innocent people, men, women and children, died at the hands of the IRA in pursuit of their bloodthirsty lust for a united Ireland.  This hall could be filled several times over with the innocent victims of the IRA.  Why did they have to die?  Because Sinn Fein's Fascist military wing determined that a united Ireland must be achieved, whatever the cost and whatever the wishes of those who lived in Northern Ireland.

Who were these innocent victims?  Ordinary people, just like you.  People like Jillian Johnston, who lived with her family on the Fermanagh Border, near Belleek, as part of a tiny Protestant community in that locality.  She was not a soldier, or a policewoman or anyway associated with the security forces. No, she was a shop assistant, making few demands of life other than to live in peace and settle down and marry the man of her dreams, to whom she had just recently become engaged.  On 18 March 1988 they went out to buy fish and chips.  Her fiance then drove her back to her isolated home and as he turned the car in the yard 3 IRA HEROES, FREEDOM FIGHTERS, cowering in the bushes opened fire with automatic rifles.  20 high velocity bullets ripped through the body of Jillian Johnston and snuffed out her young life.  She was 21, like many of you. Jillian's mother was on her own in the house, waiting as she always did, for her beloved daughter to return.  She heard it all and more.  The local paper has this poignant record....."Inside the house, Jillian's mother was on her own, and she remembers hearing the car arriving in the yard and then hearing some bangs which she said seemed to go on and on.  Petrified, she sat in shock and, while she adjusted to the terror of what she had just experienced, she heard the killers walk past the window of the room where she was sitting.  She could clearly hear the laughter as they talked of what they had just done..."

Cold blooded killers laughing and rejoicing in what they'd done, in the cause of a united Ireland - the same cause that you are asked to vote for tonight.

I'm sure that if those of us here tonight could have witnessed that grisly scene, in that blood-stained farmyard that night, we would all - maybe with a few hardened exceptions - have been on the side of Jillian Johnston.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm still on Jillian's side.  Are you?  Or tonight will you back the cause of her laughing killers?  I invite you to join us in rejecting this motion”.


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