Below is the speech by TUV leader Jim Allister during the debate on Gerry Kelly’s remarks in Castlederg.
This debate — indeed the events of the summer, the motion and the amendment — are testament to the continuing abject failure of the Belfast Agreement. Here we are, 15 years after the new dawn of 1998 that we were all sought to be conned about, discovering that, right at the heart of government, are those who still cling to the justification — not just the justification, the eulogising — of evil, wicked terrorism. Of course, there are some in the House who should remember that they put them there. The DUP’s contribution to the debate thus far, perhaps Mr Campbell excluded, has been somewhat lacklustre. Maybe Lord Morrow’s conclusion will be different. However, it says to me that there is a realisation that what they have created is not now working, and we saw that writ large in Castlederg.
Mr Kelly comes to the House and treats us to a rerun of his atrocious speech in Castlederg. He tells us that there was no option in the 1970s for young men but to be terrorists. Sorry, Mr Kelly, no one made you be a terrorist. You, Mr Kelly, and your ilk chose to be terrorists, you chose to pull the trigger, and you chose to plant the bomb in circumstances in which you rejected the ballot in favour of the bullet.
In 1973 and for many years previously, Mr Gerry Kelly had the availability of the franchise: he could vote, he could stand himself for election, but he chose instead to be a terrorist. We had the 1949 Act, which delivered the guarantee that, if a majority in the House as it then was wanted a united Ireland, Northern Ireland would cease to be part of the United Kingdom. We had the 1973 Act, which gave that directly to the people of Northern Ireland in referendum. So do not come to the House and say that you had no choice. You had the choice of democracy or the choice of terrorism, and you chose the path of terrorism. You are no different from those who today still choose and tread that path.
Of course, Mr Kelly, Pontius Pilate-like, then tries to wash his hands of today’s terrorism. In discussing Castlederg, he told ‘The Nolan Show’ that he stood over what he did as the only way to change the situation. Asked whether it was worth it, he said:
“Would I make the same decision again? Yes.”
Gerry Kelly was saying to the listening public, “Would I kill again at the Old Bailey? Yes. Would I shoot an innocent prison officer in the head? Yes”. He then expects young, easily influenced people who today have the same inclination to see some great distinction between the terror of Kelly and the terror of the so-called dissidents. There is no distinction. The godfathers of yesteryear are still responsible for breeding, sustaining, encouraging and inducing the terror of today.
Those who coat-tailed through Castlederg were showing just how committed they are to that terrorist path. The only good thing about Castlederg and the only one thing to celebrate is that, if anyone had to die that day, it was the victim-makers rather than innocent victims.