The Ulster Unionist grouping on Causeway Coast & Glens Council has expressed its surprise at the DUP’s decision to join with Sinn Fein to vote down an Ulster Unionist motion condemning all violence and with particular reference to Sinn Fein living in denial that the IRA exists.
Councillor William McCandless said:
““It came as little surprise that Sinn Fein sought to water down our motion, given that they are in denial as to the existence of the IRA. It did however come as something of a surprise that the DUP should support them, especially as DUP councillors in both Mid Ulster and Fermanagh & Omagh councils had supported motions that were almost identical to the one put forward by the Ulster Unionists on Causeway Coast & Glens.
“Two weeks ago the Ulster Unionist Party brought forward a motion condemning paramilitarism to the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Corporate policy and resources committee.
“It covered every aspect of criminality in Northern Ireland and should have attracted the support of any political party that was genuinely committed to building a peaceful future.
“The motion was based on the findings of the report into paramilitary activity which was published in October 2016. We were concerned that Sinn Fein was a party of Government, sitting in the Stormont Executive, yet was clearly in denial about the continued existence of the IRA and the so-called ‘Army Council.’
“The motion therefore stated that ‘given that Sinn Fein is a party of government, it is of particular concern that the report states that the IRA Army Council remains intact, and is perceived to oversee Sinn Fein’s political strategy. It is also troubling that the Provisional IRA retain weapons, are involved in criminal activity, and that its members continue to carry out acts of violence, including murders.
“The motion continued – ‘This Council further agrees that Sinn Fein must accept the truth, that the IRA still exists, and use all their influence to ensure the Provisional IRA, along with all other paramilitary organisations, leave the stage completely.”
“Quite what was in that motion that the DUP was unable to support, I have absolutely no idea. But I would certainly like to know.”