Below are the comments of TUV leader Jim Allister in the Assembly this afternoon on the weekend’s violence:
“The litany of criminality that we saw over the weekend — much of it quite patently paramilitary — was utterly shameful. Whether it was the shooting of the young boy in Coleraine, the pipe bombing in Strabane, the fire bombing of the Alliance Party offices or the issuing of vigilante threats in Bangor, all those are shameful and wrong. They are testament to the ongoing failure of the Belfast Agreement, which was supposed to bring the new dawn of peace and reconciliation, but which, in part, is the very reason why we have this continuous manifestation of criminality. If, as politicians, you support the undermining of the rule of law by the early release of prisoners — and many in this House did — and you diminish the status of the rule of law, you cannot be entirely surprised that, subsequently, others follow in that mode of diminishing and discrediting the rule of law.
“It seems to me that, under the Belfast Agreement, sadly, there has emerged an acceptable level of criminality, lest the process should be disturbed. There are certain players who seem to think and to act as if they are above the law because they are seen to be key to the process. When they flex their muscles, as they do, it is a consequence of having paid the price that we paid in rewarding terrorism and criminality under the Belfast Agreement. So I think that politicians need to be more circumspect before they seek to distance themselves from the fusion of criminality that flows from the fact that, in this Province, we rewarded criminality. We are reaping what we sowed, and, sadly, that is the reality. It was so wrong, then and now.”