Speaking in the Assembly on the Legislative Consent Motion in relation to legislation bestowing on OFMDFM the power to appoint two members to the Review Commission on paramilitaries, TUV leader Jim Allister vehemently attacked the idea of Martin McGuinness have any such role.
In the course of his remarks Mr Allister said:-
“The Provisional IRA indisputably is a paramilitary organisation. It is one that the Chief Constable advised us, just over six months ago, had murdered again. It is one that a Government panel, after studying all relevant data, advised us still exists, still has access to arms and still has an army council. The First Minister, back in September, correctly advised us that Sinn Feín is inextricably linked to the Provisional IRA. Yet what we are being asked to consent to today is that the deputy First Minister should be inextricably linked to the appointment of commissioners who are supposedly going to independently review paramilitary behaviour. I do not consent to that. I do not think it at all appropriate that one of that ilk, identified as the leadership of a party that his partner, the First Minister, says is inextricably linked to the IRA, should have any hand in any such appointments.
“Of course, the situation is more ludicrous when that same individual and that same party deny, in face of all the evidence and in face of death on our streets, that the IRA even exists. And so we have this remarkable situation where supposedly credible bodies are to be established to monitor the activities of paramilitary organisations, of which the Provisional IRA has always been chief, yet one of the sponsors of that situation and one of the appointers — one of those making the appointments — is someone who not only is affiliated with such an organisation, according to the First Minister, but cannot even honestly admit the existence of that organisation. What a farce. Of course, two of the four appointments are to be made by OFMDFM. Points have been made that they would be more appropriately made by the Department of Justice, but we all know why they are being made by OFMDFM. It is very simple. It is one for the DUP, and one for Sinn Féin. It is so that they, who are inextricably linked, according to the First Minister, to one of the paramilitary organisations supposedly going to be monitored, have the luxury of appointing a placeman to the monitoring body.
“That is how ludicrous and absurd this proposition from Fresh Start is. Yet, no doubt, this House, as it swept murder under the carpet, will sweep the absurdity of that under the carpet today and nod through that ludicrous, absurd situation. I, for one, do not consent to such appointments. I regard them as an insult to the many innocent victims of that and other paramilitary organisations. Not in my name, Mr Deputy Speaker.”