A senior member of Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists today expressed concern that the IRA is not obliged to disband its Army Council under the St Andrews Agreement.
MEP Jim Allister raised concerns about the agreement today in a bid to encourage a full and rational debate within the party.
While he stressed he was not rejecting the package, he wanted to see healthy debate within the party.
And whilst he also acknowledged that there had been some advances on the Good Friday Agreement in last Friday’s package of proposals, he also highlighted a number of areas of concern.
“There are demerits, including the lack of an adequate testing period for republicans to meet the standards we expect,” he said.
“I certainly think this timeframe is too suppressed – it is too short, even though it could be argued the shorter the timeframe, the more severe the test is.
“Certainly there is less time than there should be. We cannot go into government with Sinn Féin in a situation where the party still has an Army Council at its beck and call and where there is a lack of delivery through the courts for convictions by allowing people to give evidence.
“The lack of a default mechanism to exclude someone if they default on their responsibilities in government and pledges is a weakness.
“It also delivers a system where parties are in government for all time and doesn’t allow the electorate to evict them if their performance in government is not up to scratch.
“That is an absurd artificial system which has been put upon us and which does not exist anywhere else in the world.”