Rev Dr Ian Paisley made the following statement in the Northern Ireland Assembly:
I beg to move amendment No 2 standing in my name and the names of my colleagues:
"this Assembly expresses its sympathy to all the innocent victims of terrorist attack, murder, violence and intimidation, notes the continued participation by all paramilitary groupings in a campaign of violence and street disorder thus confirming the breakdown of their ceasefires and therefore calls upon the community to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland as part of the battle against all types of terrorism and continuing disorder. This Assembly affirms its commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means."
At the outset it is interesting to note that neither of the Members who have spoken has made an attempt to define the word "sectarianism", and it is here that we have to come to grips with the motion before the House today. The word "sectarian" comes from the word "sect". I looked at the Catholic encyclopaedia to find out what it had to say officially, as a Church, about this matter.
To the Catholic the distinction between Church and sect presents no difficulty. For him, any Christian denomination that has set itself up independently of his own Church is a sect. According to Catholic teaching, any Christians who banded together and refused to accept the entire doctrine, or acknowledge the supreme authority, of the Catholic Church constitute merely a religious party under human, unauthorised leadership. The Catholic Church alone is that universal society, instituted by Jesus Christ, which has a rightful claim to the allegiance of all men. It is the sole custodian of the complete teaching of Jesus Christ, which must be accepted in its entirety by all mankind. Its members do not constitute a sect, nor will they consent to be known as such.
The word "sectarian" was coined in Reformation times to label those opposed to the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. When I was being brought up in the Province, Nationalist politicians labelled everything that was Protestant as sectarian. The Orange Institution, Protestant churches, the police, the old House of Commons here, and so on, were labelled as sectarian.
We see the hypocrisy of a party that represents those who have murdered and wrought mayhem through our Province; who, in their bloodlust, have slain men, women and children; and who have also laid their hands on their co-religionists because they associated in any way with Protestant people. Sinn Féin then tells us that this is a simple resolution. Of course it is — because in its interpretation, its members are not sectarian. I have heard them boast in the House that they are not sectarian. We are asked today to give them an excuse — to join with them in an absolutely meaningless resolution.
The word "sectarian" must be defined. I ran into one of the leading Protestant clergymen of the Province the other day. I did not have a confrontation with him; I met him in the British Airways lounge in London. I asked him why clergymen do not tell people what sectarianism is. He said, "Ian, it is a very convenient word; we like it." We should not be dealing with conveniences in the House; we should be dealing with realities. It is a reality that this word, with which Nationalism and Republicanism has branded Protestantism for a long time and to this day, should be set in its proper context.
I was struck recently by the contents of the report on children. I am sorry that the full report was not made available to us by our information services; part of it was omitted. However, it is interesting to note that when children were asked whether they liked the police, three-year-old Roman Catholic children were more than twice as likely to say that they hated the police, as were Protestant children of that age. The seeds that IRA/Sinn Féin has sown are bearing fruit, as it has brought its people up to hate the police. Hence, there is no mention of the police or support for the police in the motion.
The Official Unionist resolution is not strong enough; it should have been far stronger. We must affirm, not reaffirm. What is the use of calling people who say they have already affirmed this resolution? There has been no real affirmation that everyone in the Assembly is committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means. The acts of those who proposed the motion and lead the debate today give the lie to that very effectively.
We need only to look at IRA/Sinn Féin’s record. It has been updating weapons and bomb techniques in Colombia; exchanging tips with its colleagues in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) movement; rearming from Russia and Florida; and targeting leading political, judicial, security, forensic and Loyalist figures using updated intelligence files. It has been identified as the major line of inquiry into the break-in at Special Branch headquarters in Castlereagh; has murdered dozens of individuals in Northern Ireland since the signing of the Belfast Agreement; and has been consistent in its role as judge and jury in the community to say who will be beaten, shot, murdered and intimidated. Recently, it has orchestrated terrible violence against the Belfast community. Let us throw out this hypocritical and treacherous motion.