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January 08, 2007

Paisley Denies Blair's DUP Claim

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 01/08/07 Paisley Denies Blair's DUP Claim
BB 01/08/07 PUP Leader Remains Critically Ill

(Poster’s Note: Sorry I am short of time to post news
this AM. I have received an unconfirmed reports that
Ervine has died. Jay)


Paisley Denies Blair's DUP Claim

DUP leader Ian Paisley has denied he ever agreed that
policing and justice powers would be transferred to the
Northern Ireland Assembly by 2008.

He was responding to an article written by the prime
minister in which he said the DUP would share power in
March if republicans backed the police.

Mr Paisley accused Tony Blair of misrepresenting his
party's policy in the Belfast Telegraph and Irish Times.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams cautiously welcomed the

Mr Blair's assessment was that, if Sinn Fein delivered on
policing, the DUP would accept devolution of justice powers
by May 2008.

But Mr Paisley said he had never agreed there would be a
transfer of justice powers within this time limit. He said
he was "amazed" by the prime minister's statement.

Sinn Fein has been keen for the DUP to commit to a time
limit but the DUP has refused.

Mr Paisley said the time had come for the government to
face up to the IRA and make it clear that delivery was

Downing Street has refused to comment on its private
conversations with Northern Ireland parties.

However, a spokesman said Mr Blair's assessment was based
on what should happen if Sinn Fein delivered fully on its
commitment to support the police and the rule of law.

In his article in Monday's papers, the prime minister also
said that Sinn Fein's leadership was the most remarkable he
had witnessed in modern politics.

The prime minister said it would be "crazy" for either Sinn
Fein or the DUP to default on the St Andrews Agreement.

Mr Adams said his party was still awaiting a more positive
response from the DUP following Mr Blair's statement last
week about policing and power-sharing.

He said he "cautiously welcomed" what Mr Blair had written
in the article.

"He's obviously giving the DUP yet another chance," he

Political developments

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and Irish
Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern have been meeting in Dundalk
to discuss the latest political developments.

Northern Ireland Security Minister Paul Goggins is due to
give evidence to the Stormont sub committee on policing and
justice later.

On Tuesday, Mr Hain is expected to appear before the same
committee which is discussing potential ministerial models
for a future justice department.

Also on Tuesday, Sinn Fein is expected to hold a meeting to
discuss its Ard Fheis.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/08 13:42:48 GMT


PUP Leader Remains Critically Ill

Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine remains in a
critical condition in hospital.

Mr Ervine, 53, was taken to hospital after suffering a
heart attack at his home on Sunday. He later had a stroke
and a brain haemorrhage in hospital.

He was transferred from the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald to
the intensive care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in

Mr Ervine was a key figure in brokering the loyalist
ceasefire of 1994.

He has been an assembly member for East Belfast since 1998.

A spokesman for the hospital treating him said: "He is
currently in the intensive care unit of the Royal Victoria
Hospital and remains critically ill."

Thoughts and prayers

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain told the BBC he had
"a high regard for him".

"He's brought loyalist politics a considerable distance,
he's a very progressive unionist, wants to see power-
sharing work and I hope he's going to be part of that."

Former Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid - the current
home secretary - said his thoughts and prayers were with Mr
Ervine's family at such a difficult time.

The PUP's Northern Ireland Policing Board member Dawn
Purvis said on Sunday: "David took ill this morning and is
being cared for in hospital. His family are with him."

Mr Ervine, who is married with two sons, became the leader
of the PUP in 2002 after replacing Belfast councillor Hugh

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/08 10:54:08 GMT

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