Speech by Ian Paisley to DUP Annual Conference, 1994
[Key_Events] [Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
POLITICS: [Menu] [Reading] [Articles] [Government] [Political_Initiatives] [Political_Solutions] [Parties] [Elections] [Polls] [Sources] [Peace_Process]
Text of a speech by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to the DUP's Annual Conference, in 1994.
"The State Of The Union
A true patriot and statesman must also be a watchman. The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel heard God speak to him and in verses 2-6 of chapter 33 he outlines the responsibility and the duty of a watchman. These Scriptures also outline the sin or the crime that the watchman can commit, and as a result the blood of those he did not warn will be required at his hand from God Himself: "Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; of the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." It is as a faithful watchman that I want to address you today. I care not about popularity. I care not for the siren voices of those who will raise them against me. I care not for the strength of the opposition I only care that the blood of the people I represent will not be upon my garments in the day of final judgment before my God.
This speech could well be called the "state of the Union", that is the state, of the Union between this part of the United Kingdom Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom Great Britain.
Let us first put the birth of the Union in historical perspective. During the terrible massacre of 1641, Phelim O'Neill poured out a fiendish cruelty and torture on our Protestant forefathers for no other crime than that they were Protestants and would not bow the knee to the Papal Antichrist at the Vatican. This extermination of Protestants became from that time a contagious disease in Ireland but was cured for a time by the Williamite Revolution Settlement. The enemy's claws were cut, but they continued to grow again. The end of the 18th century witnessed another terrible tragedy: the Rebellion of 1798. In the County of Wexford, especially, the maws of Rome protruded once again from the glove of velvet, and the massacre was repeated. The horrors of Wexford Bridge and its aftermath were a second historical reminder of what would befall us if Popery were once again to gain the ascendancy in this land. The Act of Union of 1800 was thus conceived in the spirit of defending religious liberties and civil rights. It took effect on 1st January, 1801. It abolished the Irish Parliament and provided that Ireland was to be represented by 100 members in the British House of Commons, 28 Irish peers in the House of Lords, and 4 bishops of the established church.
The first Article of the Act of Union unites Great Britain and Ireland (now Northern Ireland) into one kingdom "for ever". This Article has as great a force as any other statutory provision, and it is by the Act of Union that Northern Ireland forms part of the United Kingdom. It is the basis of the Parliamentary sovereignty exercised by Westminster over all parts of the United Kingdom.
The Act of Union thus legally created the United Kingdom "for ever", made the provision that its sovereignty resided solely and exclusively in Westminster, and guaranteed the ascendancy of Protestantism, the defence of the Faith.
The famous Section 75 of the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 secured the establishment of the Parliaments of Southern and Northern Ireland but in no way impinged on the supreme authority of the United Kingdom over all persons, matters, and things in Ireland and every part thereof.
The 1921 Treaty, however, superseded the 1920 Act, providing the 26 Counties as a selfgoverning Dominion on which the Parliament of the United Kingdom had no claim. All references in the 1920 Act which included "all Ireland" now were defined as "Northern Ireland", thus establishing in law the unity of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. This was confirmed in the 1922 Consequential Provisions Act, which contains a modification of the 1920 Act in the following words: "[ ... ] the Government of Ireland Act 1920 shall cease to apply to any other part of Ireland other than Northern Ireland."
We then come to the Boundary Commission of 1925, whose forecast, which was leaked, so alarmed the Free State Government that they immediately entered into negotiations for an agreement, which was signed on 3rd December, 1925 by representatives of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and the Irish Free State. Under Article 1 the extent of Northern Ireland, as defined by the Act of 1920, was confirmed, and consequentially the whole of the six counties (Armagh, Antrim, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone) were definitely secured to Northern Ireland. This agreement was ratified by an Act of the Imperial Parliament, and also by an Act of the Irish Free State, which was number 40 in their Statute Book of the year 1925. In fact, it was accepted by overwhelming majorities of both Houses of Parliament sitting in Dublin.
The 1925 Agreement thus underpins the 1920 Act's definition of the six counties of Northern Ireland, and agreement by the three Governments was formally enacted in the Ireland (Confirmation of Agreement) Act of 1925, duly deposited with the League of Nations. Despite the 1925 settlement, de Valera, on coming to power, spoke of "the outrage of partition". In a letter of 5th April, 1932 he protested to the late Sir Winston Churchill, who wrote on 1st May, 1935 of the "shameful manner" in which the 1925 Treaty had been "broken and repudiated by Mr de Valera" and asserted that this had "lowered the standards of good faith upon which the interests of small peoples depend".
On 11th May, 1949, the Prime Minister Clement Atlee made a move to establish that no change in the Constitution of Northern Ireland be made without the consent of Northern Ireland, and that guarantee was part of the Ireland Act 1949:
When the Parliament of Northern Ireland was suspended by the Heath Government, I moved in the House of Commons that Northern Ireland remains part of Her Majesty's Dominions and of the United Kingdom, and this is incorporated in the Northern Ireland Constitution Act of 1973:
The great traditional Unionist leaders
This was traditional Unionism as embraced and defended by the four successful unionist leaders Carson, Craigavon, Andrews and Brookeborough, who always said that the price of our liberty was eternal vigilance. Yet now - in a day when everyone knows that the Union is in dire crisis, under threat, and has been seriously weakened by the Anglo-Irish Agreement, by the Downing Street Declaration, by the Hume/Adams conspiracy, and by Irish-American and European Union interference - in contrast to these great men we have a Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party who is actually saying that there is no threat to the Union and that the Union cannot be betrayed. Evidently, Mr Molyneaux and the present Official Unionists have not learned the lessons of history.
Our greatest Leader, Lord Carson, knew that undiminished union with Britain was vital for Ulster's freedom. The fight of Ulster's majority in the days of Lord Carson was consequently the fight for the Union. The struggle to maintain the political, economic and social union with Great Britain was of crucial importance to them. They knew that the British connection was an essential safeguard for the practice of religion and the freedom to pursue their way of life. They feared the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church. They did not want citizenship in a State dominated by a religious-political power which made the rules for the politicians and determined the spiritual standards of belief and the moral standards of conduct for everybody. They refused to be absorbed into a culture which they saw as backward, superstitious and priest-ridden. We have had in the past few weeks the uncovering of the rottenness of the state system of the Irish Republic and its manipulation to cover over priestly crimes for the advantage of the church. When we consider the fate of our co-religionists in the Irish Republic since its inception, 80% of whom have disappeared because of discrimination, incompatibility or insecurity, we know that history has confirmed our fathers' worst fears. Ironically, it was the Unionist Party that betrayed the 300,000 Protestants of Southern Ireland in 1921. The British Parliament was at that time overwhelmingly Unionist, and today it is also a Conservative and Unionist Government that is busily engaged in repeating its historical treachery. Lord Carson said:
"I speak for a good many, for all those who rely on British honour and British justice, who have in giving their best to the service of the state seen themselves now deserted and cast aside without one single line of recollection or recognition in the whole of what you call peace terms in Ireland."
Those words could have been written today. Carson also said: "In my long experience of the Government of the country I have always felt certain that the parties of disorder would in the long run come to the top." We have also seen that happening today. He also said: "I only came into public life because I cared for my fellow loyalists in Ireland. I went all through my public life doing my best for them, and I saw them in the end betrayed, but at all events betrayed under the pretext that certain safeguards were provided. Now I have lived to see every one of those safeguards absolutely set at nought and made useless."
I issue a similar warning today. If we do not resist every step marked out for us by the present British Government, then we will see every so-called safeguard which they mouth set aside at their convenience to further the monstrous act of the final betrayal of the Union. "I belong," said Carson, "I believe, to what is called the Unionist Party. Why it is called the Unionist Party I fail to understand, unless it is to remind people in this country that it was the Party that betrayed the Unionists." That comment of Carson's requires no amplification by me. As for his old friend F.E. Smith, known during the Home Rule crisis in Ulster as "Galloper" Smith, and who eventually became Lord Chancellor and Earl Birkenshire, Carson in his anger in a speech in the House of Lords proscribed his friendship forever and made him an outlaw to this respect.
The present Leader of the official Ulster Unionist Party Mr James Molyneaux, has stated in the midst of this, the worst crisis in Ulster's history since the setting up of the state, that there is no sell-out, that the Union is secure, that the IRA has been conned, and that there is no possibility of betrayal. Let us examine these four assertions.
Firstly, that there is no sell-out. We might well ask what a sell-out is. A sell-out consists of those who should know well the value of what in is their possession and to which they have paid the most wholesome allegiance in words, selling that possession to the enemy. Secondly, Mr Molyneaux asserts that the Union is secure. Two men, Hume and Adams are both the inveterate haters of the Union. They came together and planned a conspiracy against the Union - a conspiracy whose details have never been revealed to the people of Northern Ireland. Why? Because men like them love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. From the womb of the Hume/Adams conspiracy came the Downing Street Declaration.
Despite the monstrous blunder of signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the British Prime Minister failed to learn the lesson and went even further down the road to a sell-out of the majority community when he and his Southern Irish counterpart, Albert Reynolds, issued a "Joint Declaration" in London on 15th December, 1993, dealing with the future governance of Northern Ireland. This so-called Downing Street Declaration is a Jesuitical document, to quote the Jim Molyneaux of that day, but its core is contained in the idea that the Government of the Irish Republic, a foreign State, will work together with the British Government, which declares that it has "no selfish, strategic or economic interest" in Northern Ireland, to achieve "peace, stability and reconciliation established by agreement among all the people to inhabit the island". The agreement would "embrace the totality of relationships". They accept that any such agreement may bring about a united Ireland by consent. Even on a generous interpretation, this represents a significant dilution in the constitutional guarantee hitherto given by the British Government that there would be no change in the status of Northern Ireland without the consent of the majority of its people. If carried out, the policies indicated in this Declaration will materially weaken the Union and encourage nationalists to believe that their goal of a united Ireland is within easy reach. The Irish Republic, in effect, achieves an equal say in the governance of the United Kingdom, since the parts thereof are indivisible under the sovereignty of Her Majesty the Queen until the Union is dissolved by the United Kingdom Parliament.
The Downing Street Declaration is in reality the blue-print of the Republic endorsed by Whitehall to destroy Ulster unionists as they have already destroyed Southern Irish unionists. The Declaration aims through a carefully camouflaged joint partnership of the two Governments, to bring about the sole and sovereign authority of a Dublin Government over us. The stated objective of the Declaration is to bring about an end to violence. The IRA is to be persuaded to give up the bullet and work through the ballot box. In October, 1994, the IRA declared a so-called ceasefire but no counterfeit ceasefire will convince the people of this Province that the IRA thugs and murderers have had a change of heart. Dublin, like Rome, is the proverbial leopard which cannot change its spots. The Ulster Democratic Unionist Party's predictions have been consistently correct, and events have already proved us right: punishment beatings continue in the no-go areas where the IRA rules, and the IRA has now admitted that it was behind the murder of an innocent Post Office worker in Newry during a robbery which netted over £130,000 for their terrorist activities. Clearly, when the IRA realises that the British Government will be unable to deliver the goal of a united Ireland, it will return to the methods of coercion that it knows best - bombing and murder.
The Downing Street Declaration, like its forerunner the Anglo-Irish Agreement, had the aim of betraying the Ulster people, bribing the IRA and appeasing the Republican enemy. It was a total breach of the promises that Major had made on 10th December, 1993, that no Government he led would compromise the constitutional position of Northern Ireland, negotiate or bargain with terrorists, or derogate from United Kingdom sovereignty in the Province.
The Official Unionist Leader, after saying that the Downing Street Declaration had run its course, now claims credit for it, exalts it to a place of authority, and appeals to it, and talks of Major, Reynolds and Clinton.
Thirdly, Mr Molyneaux asserts that the IRA has been conned. Is the IRA being conned when the British Government is forced to do a U-turn through pressure from America and bring the men of blood to the proposed economic forum? The Leader of the Unionist Party likens this economic forum to a parallel forum to Reynolds' child the Nationalist Forum in Dublin. This is an amazing comparison as the Nationalist Forum has one end - to unify what the Republic calls the national territory, while this economic forum has for its aim the regeneration of the economy of Northern Ireland. Now the IRA which has done its [best] to destroy Northern Ireland's economy is to be given a place of prestige at Molyneaux's much praised forum. Who is conning whom? The British Government has conned Mr Molyneaux and the Official Unionists, and anyone who would believe that getting the men of blood to the economic forum shows that the IRA has been conned only proves his own readiness to swallow any deception and then repeat any deception to smokescreen his own deception. Is the IRA being conned by the dismantling of the security arrangements taken by a British Government to defeat them? Is it being conned when the British Government allows them to retain their killing machine intact and hold on to all their murder weapons, both guns and explosives?
The fourth affirmation of the Leader of the Unionist Party is that there is no possibility of betrayal. One has only to look around to note the betrayals of a Prime Minister who Mr Molyneaux said never told a lie.
Now what about Mr Molyneaux and his Party's own betrayal? I signed with Mr Molyneaux a declaration of war against Sinn Fein. Now Mr Molyneaux has given his blessing for the British Government to meet Sinn Fein, his colleague Martin Smyth and Grand Master of Ireland has stated that he is prepared to sit down with the IRA to discuss the future governance of Northern Ireland. Mr Molyneaux claimed that the Anglo Irish Agreement was a complete and total betrayal of the Union. Mr Major claims that the Downing Street Declaration is built upon the Anglo Irish Agreement. Mr Molyneaux now claims that he is for the Downing Street Declaration. The foundation document, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, is according to Mr Molyneaux a betrayal, but the house built upon the Downing Street Declaration according to the same Right Honourable Gentleman is a great defence of the Union. This is a good example of a consistent politician of the Major breed.
The issue of consent
I have been busily engaged during these past months in seeking to take soundings among various sections of he Ulster community. Recently I had talks with an influential organisation which spans both unionist parties and with other unionists who belong to no party. They requested me to meet with them and Mr Molyneaux. I want to put it on record that I have made it clear to the chairman of that particular organisation that I would be very happy at any time to meet with them and Mr Molyneaux to put the case that I have put in public and the soundings that I have taken concerning the present attitude adopted by the leader of the Unionist Party and the end product of the policy that he has been advocating and pursuing with great concentration. A Unionist Forum where all members of the unionist family can get together and deal with the issues at this moment confronting us - and especially dividing the unionist population from the Official Unionist Party - is in my opinion an imperative, but if the Official Unionist Party and many parts of the Orange Institution which it controls do not want to bring the unionist family together but prefer to swear allegiance to John Major and his betrayal policy, then the Unionists of Ulster must come together to defend their hard-won rights and liberties. However let me come to the all important matter of the final court of appeal, the final arbiter in this dispute, let me say that the final court of appeal and the final arbiter in this dispute must be the people of Northern Ireland alone.
For the people of Northern Ireland, the principle of consent freely given must prevail over the bullet, in the way in which they are to be governed in future. There can be neither compromise with terrorist minority pressure nor external interference by a foreign state in their internal governance. The Ulster Democratic Unionist Party welcomes the Prime Minister's promise of a referendum in Northern Ireland to obtain the electorate's consent for any outcome of political talks. The consent of the people of Northern Ireland was not sought before the signing of the Anglo Irish Agreement or the Downing Street Declaration, both of which ironically reiterated the traditional guarantee of "consent" given to the Unionist majority. These documents were carefully worded so that the term would only apply to the constitutional issue of the severance of Northern Ireland from the Union: the consent principle did not apply to any immediate step which might lead the Province out of the United Kingdom, in particular any changes in the governance of the Province and the creation of any institutions or structures impacting upon it. The limitations of this sort of majority consent were clearly recognised by the DUP even before the Eire Premier stated that it did not extend to "all forms of political progress or other decisions by the two Governments". Even though the Prime Minister's commitment to a referendum expressly applies only to the outcome of three-stranded talks the DUP recognises it as an advance. Our position is that the principle of consent should apply in all sets of circumstances and for all time.
Self-determination is a basic human right: it is incorporated as a principle of the Charter of the United Nations, and the people of Northern Ireland must be unflinching in their fight to see that it is upheld in how they are governed in future. Although Northern Ireland is de facto and de jure indisputably part of the United Kingdom, it is a universally established principle that the inhabitants of any territory subject to claim by another country will decide their own future. Remember that at first Mr Major would not even grant this: it was DUP pressure that forced him to do so.
Therefore the ballot box, not the bullet, must prevail in Northern Ireland. The freely expressed democratic will of the people of the Province must be respected and implemented. By the same token, a commitment to the principle of democratic consent rules out not only any compromise with the terrorists of IRA/Sinn Fein, but also any imposed solution. Neither will work. The former is morally unthinkable; the latter, already tested in principle through direct rule and the Anglo Irish Diktat, has had nothing but disastrous consequences. Both conceptions breach the right of the people of the Province to decide their own future, including how they are to be governed, democratically without pressure or interference.
For the avoidance of any doubt we call on Mr Major to clarify unambiguously that Her Majesty's Government will: (a) accept and abide by the verdict of a majority in a referendum; (b) accept that a referendum of the people of Northern Ireland alone will determine any change; (c) undertake to implement a referendum prior to implementing any change; (d) commit itself to holding a referendum on change impacting upon Northern Ireland in all circumstances and for all time; (e) seek Parliamentary endorsement for this principle of consent.
The recognition, the acceptance and most importantly the implementation of Ulster's right of self-determination, of Ulster's right to give her consent, is absolutely imperative in the midst of the present political crisis. The Ulster Democratic Unionist Party has therefore launched a major initiative which we believe will help to focus attention on this issue which has been left to one side not only over the past year but over the last 25 years. The details of that initiative will become clearer in the coming days. But as a result of our actions I am certain that no one either here in Northern Ireland or nationally or internationally will be left in any doubt about the seriousness which we in this Party view this vital issue which must be at the very heart of the political process. Neither will anybody be left in any doubt as to the validity of the case that we have been making and making alone on the need for the Ulster people to give their consent on all the issues which affect their constitutional position and governance.
Let me speak a final word. Are we, the sons and daughters of Ulster become so craven as to allow our ancient foes to triumph over us? Are we the offspring of the defenders of Londonderry and the descendents of the men of the Boyne given to turning back in the day of battle? Are we going to surrender to a State so blatantly priest-ridden and core rotten as to be the butt of all right thing peoples throughout the world? The last few days have demonstrated the stinking rottenness of the corpse of body politic in Dublin. Are we gong to bow our necks and agree to a partnership with the IRA men of blood who have slain our loved ones, destroyed our country, burned our churches, tortured our people and demand now that we should become slaves in a country fit only for Nuns men and Monks women to live in?
Are we going to permit those who wear the garments of Unionism to lead us by the nose to the noose which our false friends in London have prepared for us?
Are we going to suffer ourselves to become beggars at the door of the American Whitewashed House presenting our bowls for the mess of American grits?
Are we like abject slaves to Salam the new United States overlord sent to us by the Whitewater crook? Are we going to allow minor Majors or major Minors to take us for a ride to the paedophile priests?
Rouse you, men and women of Ulster. You are free born. Refuse the chains prepared for you by treacherous unionists and their ilk.
Let Dublin know that there still be those who must not, shall not, will not, and cannot bow to these traitors who tread the smoke-filled rooms of Whitehall, nor to those enemies the offspring of the Vatican who walk the corrupted corridors of power in Dublin, in Europe and in Washington.
In the propaganda war we must excel answering the lies with truth and smoking out from their lairs the media skunks and cleansing their putrid odour from the earth.
Ulster men and women we mean business, real business. To the task of saving this Province we have put our hand. By God's help we will win or die in the attempt.
God Save Ulster."
CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.
Last modified :