Skip to main content

Provisional Army Council

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

I am sure that everybody looks forward to the day when all vestiges of Northern Ireland’s paramilitary history, including the army council, have been relegated to where they belong: the past.

The Provisional army council is not some branch of the Royal British Legion, but a terror command structure. Given that the Government’s policies have put terrorists and murderers into government in part of the United Kingdom, and given that the self-same people were and may still be members of that terror command structure, how can the Secretary of State even contemplate having them in charge of policing the criminal justice system?

I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman, but he will know that the Belfast agreement, subsequently built on by the St. Andrews agreement, enables the politicians and people of Northern Ireland to determine their future. As such, we built into the St. Andrews agreement that it would be for the parties to agree on the matter, that it would be an issue of cross-community confidence, and that when a motion was brought before and agreed by the Assembly, it would finally have to come before this House before we could move forward on devolution.

As for the idea of terrorists being put into positions of power, I simply say this to the hon. Gentleman: all those members of the Executive have taken an oath of office, and they are required, both now and in future, to live up to that oath.