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Allister slams McAleese in Strasbourg

21 February 2005

Speaking today, Jim Allister QC MEP said, ďAt the start of the week, when President McAleese is due to visit Belfast, DUP MEP Jim Allister took the opportunity in an adjournment debate at the opening of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to draw the attention of the Parliament to her outrageous comments regarding the Northern Ireland Protestant community.

Mr Allister said:


"When this Parliament last met it quite properly, and with almost total unanimity, condemned the Nazi atrocities epitomised by Auschwitz.  Sadly and shamefully, the Head of State of a Member State of this EU, President McAleese of the Republic of Ireland, chose the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz to launch a vicious and vindictive attack upon the majority community in Northern Ireland when she equated the Nazi hatred of Jews to the attitude of Protestants towards Roman Catholics.


Nothing equates to the Nazi holocaust and, in the name of the peace loving majority in Northern Ireland, I take this opportunity, in this international forum, to refute and reject this vile attack upon my people.


I might add that references to the titanic struggle against Nazism fall particularly ill from the lips of a President of the Republic of Ireland when we recall the neutrality of that State during World War II and the fact that one of her predecessors De Valera expressed condolences on the death of Hitler.


Northern Ireland needs and accepts no lectures from the Irish Republic on resisting fascism."




Notes to editors:


1.         Today was the first time since President McAleese's remarks that the EP has met in Plenary session.


2.         On the last Plenary session on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz, the Parliament overwhelmingly passed a motion condemning the Nazi atrocities.


3.         Mr Allister welcomes the cancellation of President McAleese's visit to the Shankill this week but regards her entire visit at this time as inappropriate, including the invitation to her to reopen the Old Bar Library at the Royal Courts of Justice.  As a Northern Ireland QC, Mr Allister opposes this move.



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