Sinn Féin should be barred from discussing the formation of a devolved government in the North, the Rev Ian Paisley said today.
After meetings in Hillsborough Castle with Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, the Democratic Unionist leader said the IRA would have to disband.
“I want to see them disbanded,” the North Antrim MP said.
“You cannot sit at a table as IRA/Sinn Féin.
“They must be disbanded. That is what ministers of the Republic of Ireland have said.
“One of their ex-prime ministers said they should be an old boys’ association.”
Mr Paisley said his party had managed to ensure that Mr Ahern and his officials from Dublin would have no role in negotiations on the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.
The DUP leader said Sinn Féin could not qualify as democrats because of continuing IRA criminal activity.
“We are told by the (Good Friday) Agreement that only democrats should be there and they don’t have democrats there,” he said.
“Their (the British and Irish governments’) own commissions have said they are not democratic.”