Paisley challenges SF over power handover

Any move to disrupt tomorrow’s handover of political power in the North could see a return to the bad old days before devolved government, Ian Paisley said today.

Any refusal by Sinn Féin to co-operate with the outgoing First Minister’s Democratic Unionist Party would be an evil action, he added.

Mr Paisley said he was confident that his successor, Peter Robinson, would be nominated First Minister tomorrow and challenged republicans to co-operate.

Mr Paisley said: "I think it would be an evil thing if anyone at this time, so late in the day, would now say no, we are stopping it.''

Intensive negotiations are continuing over the deadlock, which Sinn Féin blames on the failure to make progress on devolving powers over policing and justice to a Northern Ireland minister.

Fresh elections could be triggered if Sinn Féin refuses to re-nominate Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tomorrow.

The party accuses the DUP of reneging on the 2006 St Andrews Agreement.

Mr Paisley added: “There was such a thing as a St Andrews Agreement and there was a triple lock (veto) on St Andrews and the power of putting people into office comes not from votes in the Assembly but the strength of the people in the Assembly and those people are entitled to what the law gives them.”

Talks have been continuing to avert the possibility of fresh elections but Mr Paisley, 82, said it would be an easy contest for his party.

“I just ask people, 'do they want to come back to the bad old days or do they want to go forward?'” he added.

“Are we going to bring everything to a standstill because people give an interpretation of what happens at St Andrew’s in their way.”


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