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The TUV’s 2015 conference will take place on Saturday 28th November in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick with public events starting at 11am.

As well as a range of topics covered by members of the party, Labour MP for Vauxhall Kate Hoey will as a special guest delivery a keynote speech in support of UK exit from the EU.  Kate Hoey, Labour MP Vauxhall, was born and educated in Northern Ireland and is Co-chair of the Labour Leave group. She will be addressing the Conference on the upcoming referendum and why people in Northern Ireland should vote to leave the EU.

Commenting ahead of the conference TUV leader Jim Allister said:

“By the end of 2017 TUV will have campaigned in not one but two key polls for the party.

“Next year’s Assembly election is of course crucial and will be an opportunity for the people of Northern Ireland to pass their verdict on five years of deadlock and an executive which contains Ministers who take their directions from the IRA Army Council.

“Equally TUV sees the referendum on EU membership as a core issue for our nation. For the first time in a generation we have the opportunity to liberate the UK from the shackles of Brussels, put an end to the flow of our tax money to an institution which is incapable of reform and regain control of our borders. David Cameron’s letter yesterday showed that his much vaunted “renegotiation” won’t achieve anything of substance even if his requests are met. The only answer is for the UK to leave the EU.

“Kate is one of the most articulate champions of the Vote Leave campaign and I am delighted that she will be addressing our conference on this important matter.”

Statement by Jim Allister MLA:

“I am saddened to hear that the B&Q outlet in Braid Retail Park in Ballymena is set to be closed by the end of 2016.

“My immediate thoughts are with the employees who will be greatly impacted by the loss of this store, and over the next 15 months I hope every effort will be made by B&Q to assist them move forward.

“Big companies leaving Ballymena with the inevitable loss of jobs is not a good news story. There is a big hole to fill, and I hope other retailers will show interest in taking on the site and create new jobs.”

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Deputy Mayor, Cllr Timothy Gaston continued:

“I was absolutely shocked to hear this from a major UK retailer such as B&Q. My heartfelt sympathies are with the employees and their families as they come to terms with the closure in 2016.

“Ballymena is a vibrant town, and one which is open for business. I will play my part to attract new businesses in and I hope a new retailer will come forward to plug this substantial gap.”

Belfast Agreement Devolution Unfixable

Admin —  September 21, 2015

Statement by Jim Allister MLA:

“The very fact that for the umpteenth time crisis talks are starting at Stormont is irrefutable evidence for even the slowest of learners that Belfast Agreement devolution is unfixable. Yet, once more, Northern Ireland is to be subjected to the frustration of failed politicians jockeying to apply sticking plaster to that which will never work. The only difference this time is that the proceedings have the added grotesque spectacle of unionists sweeping IRA murder under the carpet as an essential to saving their ministerial careers.

“If the talks participants truly had the interests of the people of Northern Ireland at heart they’d stop the pretence and face the reality that mandatory coalition is irretrievably unworkable, because it defies the most basic tenets of democracy – the right to vote parties out of government and the right to an Opposition. Only voluntary coalition checked by a vibrant Opposition can ever hope to work.

“So as the ‘jobs for the boys’ brigade set about their latest deception and some compliant media outlets suspend their critical faculties, TUV will continue to ensure thinking unionists and democrats are not bereft of an alternative vision that would work, as opposed to the perpetual failure of the Belfast Agreement devolution.”

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“The IRA death threat received by Martina McDonnell, a close friend of the McGuigan family, illustrates that while Unionists pontificate about Sinn Fein needing to admit that the IRA exists or practice political hokey cokey with their executive Ministers Republicans linked to a party of government continue to rule communities by fear and the threat of the gun.

“With a mother of five receiving a sympathy card from the IRA containing a bullet because of her friendship with the family of an IRA murder victim no one should be in any doubt as to the nature of the movement Unionists have ushered into the heart of government.

“What is needed is not crisis talks to get a morally bankrupt system back up and running but a facing down of Sinn Fein/IRA and the bringing to justice of those behind murder and intimidation.

“The present system which sees Sinn Fein/IRA Ministers remain in office cannot be defended by anyone committed to democracy and the rule of law. It needs to go and go now.

“However it is dressed up no fancy formula of words and no shiny new IMC will change the fact that the IRA retain weapons and reserve the right to use them. I don’t believe that Sinn Fein/IRA will accede to the UUP demand that they admit the IRA exists but so what if they did? Would that stop incidents like this?

“And what of the DUP position? By re-nominating Ministers yesterday and leaving Arlene Foster in post as DFP Minister and acting First Minister they sustain Sinn Fein in office – a party which they themselves say is “inextricably linked” to those who have recently shot a man in the streets of our capital city and who are now sending out threats to kill those who associated with him.”

Unionists (Again) Get Nothing

Admin —  September 15, 2015

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“It is now clear that the Government has decided to call the bluff of weak Unionism.

“Having heard it all before when it came to OTR letters and the graduated response they, like the electorate, clearly don’t take the threats of Unionists seriously anymore and have decided to give the DUP – or for that matter the UUP – nothing of what they demanded before going into talks.

“Having failed to secure the adjournment of the Assembly the Government then refused to grant the DUP’s demanded suspension. With today’s statement the Secretary of State has even refused to throw them the bone of a new IMC. Useless as it would have been the establishment of such a body could have been dressed up by the DUP and UUP as the Government at least giving ground which would have fed into the choreography leading up to new talks.

“Having failed to do that it is hard to escape the conclusion that Westminster sees Peter Robinson as a lame duck leader. Having served his purpose in getting the DUP into government with Sinn Fein – and got them so comfortable in that position that they will seemingly do anything to keep the executive alive – they have obviously calculated that there is no longer any reason to help him.

“It’s time to end the charade and progress to an election.”

What Did DUP Know about IRA?

Admin —  September 15, 2015

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“In May 2007, following the appointment of Peter Robinson and Jeffrey Donaldson to the Privy Council, the DUPboasted that this would mean they would have access to secret intelligence on the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries from MI5 and other security agencies.

“In the eight years since the DUP has had nothing to say about either the IRA’s existence or its activity. If the Chief Constable and the Secretary of State knew the IRA still existed, then, mustn’t DUP Privy Councillors, who claim briefings by MI5, have also known? So, why did they cover it up? Is the surprise now professed mere surprise that that which has been concealed has come to light, disturbing their place in government with the political wing of the IRA?

“The DUP having made great play of their inside track on intelligence must now explain themselves and explain why in April 2012  Mr Donaldson gave the IRA a clean bill of health?

“Given the events of recent weeks therefore a question obviously arises – just what did the DUP Privy Councillors know about the continued existence of the IRA, its command structure and its access to guns?

“Were the DUP conned in 2007 when they believed that membership of the Privy Council would enable them to make a judgement on the IRA or have they kept their knowledge under wraps for the sake of political office?

“If the DUP were conned over what they would know through membership of the Privy Council – which in 2007 they claimed would give them access to additional information to that available through IMC reports – why should they have confidence in a reheated IMC?”

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“DUP MLAs not turning up for debates in the Assembly chamber and withdrawing from question time shouldn’t fool anyone.

“Due to their shameless backpedalling on the pledge to leave the executive they sustain Sinn Fein/IRA Ministers in office. In fact, had the Business Committee agreed to an adjournment as requested by the DUP last week all Ministers would have remained in office – the only difference being that they wouldn’t be subject to the scrutiny of Assembly questions.

“No amount of DUP stunts will obscure the reality that a party which they themselves acknowledge is inextricably linked to the IRA remains in the government of Northern Ireland because they failed to resign all their Ministers from the executive.

“Unionists who have witnessed the graduated response, the threatened resignation over the OTR issue and numerous other shams will not be fooled by the latest playacting.”

First Stage of New SpAd Bill Today

Admin —  September 14, 2015

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“Today I moved the first stage of my new Special Advisers Bill. The Bill is designed to curb the Stormont Executive’s excessive spend on Special Advisers by reducing the number of SpAds in OFMdFM from 8 to 4 and linking their salaries to the senior civil service pay band for Assistant Secretaries (Grade 5).

“The legislation also seeks to make Special Advisers subject to the prevailing Civil Service disciplinary processes and prevent ministers blocking discipline. Thus it would help to avoid a repeat of Stephen Brimstone’s unpunished treatment of Lisburn councilor Jenny Palmer during the Red Sky affair.

“The legislation was out for consultation during the Summer and the proposals received a warm welcome with over 98% of the 148 respondents agreeing that there was a case for reform.

“When one considers the number of Special Advisers employed at Stormont and contrasts it with the other devolved regions of the UK the case for reform is compelling. Northern Ireland has 19 SpAds while Scotland has 14.

“Over the Summer the Welsh Government published details of the number and cost of Special Adviser employed in Cardiff. They get by with 9 – less than half the number employed by Stormont. The paybill was also revealed. For the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 the cost of Welsh Government SpAds totalled £626,995. The Stormont SpAd pay bill (at over two million) is more than three times that.

“This Bill will test the platitudes of MLAs in professing opposition to waste as against what they actually do. I trust all can unite around these essential and measured proposals.”

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“Today’s comments by Sinn Fein Northern Ireland chairman Bobby Storey about the IRA “butterfly” and McGuinness’s remarks about state agents being behind two recent murders would be laughable were the issues involved not deadly serious.

“Again we have underscored for us the reality that Sinn Fein are strangers to truth. What sort of fools do they take people for? Yet it’s worth noting that this is the party both the DUP and UUP look set to join round the negotiating table tomorrow.

“Republicans clearly think they will ultimately be able to get away with this just as they did with the murders of Robert McCartney and Paul Quinn and the Northern Bank robbery.

“We are long past the point when all democrats should have recognised that Sinn Fein are apologists for the IRA, not some other party that can join democrats round the talks table or – even worse – in government, a position they retain because the DUP went back on their pledge to resign.

“Republican fairy tales of IRA butterflies and the ever present villainous state agents fool no one. But will Unionists be content to join them in talks on Monday to listen to such nonsense?”

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“News that Peter Robinson plans to renominate Ministers who will then resign again means that Stormont is set for new lows of pantomime farce.

“All of the shenanigans in Stormont to date will pale into insignificance and it will be held in even greater contempt than it currently is – which is quite an achievement!

“Things would make a great deal more sense if the DUP had simply done what they said they would do and resigned from the executive instead of this half in / half out nonsense. Don’t forget that by refusing to quit the executive the DUP are ensuring that Sinn Fein/IRA Ministers also retain office.

“Mr Robinson has an alternative. To resign as First Minister.

“As Stormont reaches levels of absurdity unheard to date the DUP’s position will become increasingly untenable. They would be better facing reality now than having to face it on polling day.”