DUP’s history shows it is far from being opposed to terrorists

REGISTERING his disapproval of the DUP’s approach to the St Andrews Agreement, Dr JE Hazlett Lynch (Irish Examiner letters, November 20) is critical of Ian Paisley’s intention to go into government with Sinn Féin.

Dr Hazlett Lynch’s claim that the DUP has had a “long and clear opposition to terrorists” does not stand up to scrutiny. Dr Paisley has created or belonged to numerous organisations beginning with Ulster Protestant Action in 1956. In 1966, he was founding chairman of the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers.

This latter group was responsible for the attack on peaceful civil rights marchers at Burntollet Bridge in August 1969. In 1974, he sat alongside UDA and UVF leaders in the Ulster Workers Council whose strike brought down the Sunningdale Agreement.

In 1981, he launched his Carson Trail by leading 500 men waving firearms certificates up a hillside in Co Antrim. In the Ulster Hall on November 10, 1986, he, along with leading members of the DUP, launched Ulster Resistance. In 1988, members of this group were involved in a plot to smuggle arms from South Africa.

In recent times, the media, like Dr Hazlett Lynch, have portrayed the DUP as paragons of democracy. In reality they have disgorged a torrent of sectarian bile and fomented an anti-Catholic discourse over the last 40 years.

The monolith that is unionism has frustrated the democratic process, indulged in sectarian patronage in jobs and housing, engaged in gerrymandering of electoral wards to maximise unionist representation and defined democracy as a sectarian head-count. Surely, if any party needs a period of ‘quarantine’, it is the DUP.

Tom Cooper

23 Delaford Lawn

Knocklyon

Dublin 16

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