Joint Commemoration of Centenaries with Sinn Fein - But no time to debate return of portrait of HM the Queen
Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“One can only imagine what Carson and Craig would say if they imagined that the 100th anniversary of the Covenant, the foundation of Northern Ireland and the Easter Rising would be lumped together and the events jointly organised by a convicted IRA terrorist.
“Our forefathers signed the Covenant and founded Northern Ireland so that they would avoid living under the rule of the IRA. To now have someone who was sentenced to eight years and served four for a string of terrorist offences - including possession of explosives with intent and membership of the IRA – supposedly commemorating those events is an insult to the memory of the men and women who signed the Covenant.
“The stand of our forefathers in “defending, for ourselves and our children, our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom” as the Ulster Covenant put it should not be forgotten. The contrived and distorted form of government at Stormont means the people of Northern Ireland are no longer equal citizens of the UK. Unlike Scotland and Wales, the devolved setup in Northern Ireland denies us two fundamentals of British democracy – the right to vote a party out of government and the right to have an Opposition. In the rest of the UK the route to shared government is voluntary coalition such as currently operates at Westminster between the Tories and Lib Dems. In Northern Ireland we have compulsory coalition with those – like Cullan - whose overriding purpose is the destruction of the Union.
“But while Stormont seems keen to distort history to the point where the commemoration is the very antithesis of what they are supposedly commemorating there is a surprising lack of urgency when it comes to doing the right thing in this Diamond Jubilee year.
“Almost a month ago I revealed that I had tabled a motion which was supported by all Unionist parties seeking the return of a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen to Parliament Builings. In addition to to myself, the motion was signed by the two independent Unionist MLAs; David McNarry and David McClarty; and by two MLAs from each of the UUP and DUP; Danny Kinahan and Michael Copeland from the Ulster Unionists and Lord Morrow and Gregory Campbell from the DUP.
“Yet the motion has yet to appear on the Order Paper of the Assembly because the Business Committee has failed to find time for it.
“It is a scandal that in the year of HM the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Parliament Buildings does not have a picture of the monarch on display. And it is deeply disappointing that Unionists on the Business Committee seem content not to press this issue”.