O'Donnell defends comments on Sinn Fein

The Progressive Democrats' Liz O'Donnell has defended comments she made yesterday which appeared to support the stance of the Ulster Unionist Party regarding Sinn Fein.

The Progressive Democrats' Liz O'Donnell has defended comments she made yesterday which appeared to support the stance of the Ulster Unionist Party regarding Sinn Fein.

Ms O'Donnell told the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation that the IRA's failure to decommission and disband raised doubts about Sinn Fein's right to sit in the Northern Assembly and Executive.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams rejected the statement and said Sinn Fein is entitled to its Assembly seats because of the votes it democratically received from the Northern electorate.

Speaking on radio this morning, Ms O'Donnell denied that her remarks were part of a "slanging match" between the PDs and Sinn Fein. She accepted that the republican movement has played a significant role in the peace process, but said she expected more movement.

"There was an objective process of certifiable reality of decommissioning as certified by the decommissioning body," she said.

"We've had that. I accept that, but there was also an understanding, a clear understanding, a clear consequential feeling that there would be, in due course, a winding up of paramilitary activity."

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