Speaking to the quarterly meeting of his party council in Lisburn, Alliance Leader David Ford will welcome Ian Paisley’s comments on his willingness to work with Sinn Fein following Decommissioning.
David Ford will say:
“Last Wednesday, in Downing Street, I called on the parties, especially the DUP and Sinn Fein, to concentrate on the prize available and not get diverted onto side issues. That prize is the end of paramilitarism and the restoration of power-sharing devolution.
“Ian Paisley’s comments last night are a classic example. There is a real danger that people could focus on his intemperate language about ‘an ultimatum’ to Sinn Fein. In truth, what he said was no different in substance from what the Prime Minster has said for the last two years – there must be Acts of Completion.
“But if there were Acts of Completion by Republicans, then Ian Paisley has said that he will ‘bite his lip’ and work with Sinn Fein. Just to make sure, he repeated the phrase.
“I believe that this is a hugely significant statement by the DUP leader. It would have been impossible for him to say that a few months ago.
“I hope that Dr Paisley will manage to repeat this commitment without the intemperate language, so that people can understand more clearly how far the political landscape has changed.”