Jeffrey Donaldson: Unionists ready to guarantee devolved government

From a speech by the Democratic Unionist Party MP for Logan Valley, delivered in Glenties, Co Donegal
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The Independent Online

We are willing to give clear commitments to ensure the long-term stability of agreed political institutions on the basis of equality and fairness. And we are prepared to work with others to build a society in Northern Ireland where tolerance and mutual respect are the key attitudes which mark out our relationships with each other.

Communities across Northern Ireland must be able to take ownership in the task of building a prosperous and fair society. Those who have inflicted the violence on the community have to give up the power that they have held, and those who have suffered at the hands of the violence have to live with the prospect of some of the perpetrators and their colleagues being in positions of power.

This is an enormous challenge for many people to face up to. The absence of peace, the underlying threat of violence, and the inability to resolve finally the issue of arms has been the single biggest stumbling block to political progress in Northern Ireland.

There are, of course, other, significant issues to be resolved, but their resolution to everyone's satisfaction could be much more easily achieved in an improved situation.

It does not take an expert to work out that widespread support is required. But this should not be seen as a threat to any section of the population, but a safeguard.

That is why I find it strange that some nationalist politicians seem to place a greater emphasis on defending a failed agreement than to finding a realistic way forward.