Clinton 'a political has-been' says Paisley

Former US President Bill Clinton was tonight denounced as a political has-been by the leader of the Democratic Unionists, the Reverend Ian Paisley.

Mr Paisley launched a savage broadside at Mr Clinton after the former US President challenged, during a visit to Dublin, Mr Paisley’s claim that the Good Friday Agreement was dead.

Mr Paisley said: “The discredited ex-President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton, simply revealed his unmitigated cheek in going to a country that wants to destroy Ulster’s place in the United Kingdom and then lectures us that our democratic expression of our own future must be set aside to conform to the will of the country that claims supremacy over it.

“The Belfast Agreement, which in itself is devoid of democracy, has made it clear that we must have a new beginning, and that beginning must close and bar the gates of its government to terrorists of whatever side they come from.

“Clinton cannot have his way to force IRA / Sinn Féin terrorists into the government of this part of the United Kingdom, as I told him to his face when he was in Belfast.”

Mr Clinton, who is in Dublin to help launch a national suicide prevention scheme for young people in the Republic, insisted that there was no viable alternative to the Good Friday Agreement.

He said he did not agree with the DUP leader’s claim outside Downing Street last Thursday that the 1998 accord was dead, but he also stated his belief that the next move to reinvigorate the political process in the North was in the IRA’s court.

“If they were to give up their arms and criminality, I think it would put a lot of pressure on Mr Paisley and others,” the former President said.

Mr Clinton added that the Good Friday agreement was fair to everyone in Northern Ireland.

“I hope it can still be revived.”

However, Mr Paisley said when Mr Clinton was in the White House he would not have allowed the Oklahoma bombers to take posts in his government.

“Rather, he threatened them with the almighty punishment of his government, yet he dares to dictate to the free people of Northern Ireland that they must have such terrorists in their government,” the veteran MP, who has been buoyed by the strong general election performance by his party, said.

“Don’t do what I do, but do what I say – that is the hypocritical way of Bill Clinton, a has-been.”

Mr Paisley also launched a vigorous attack on SDLP leader Mark Durkan after he insisted the DUP should not be allowed to dictate the pace of political progress in the North following the recent elections.

The Democratic Unionist claimed Mr Durkan had been mixing for far too long with ‘fascists in Sinn Féin.’

He stressed: “The people of the Irish Republic have no say in the destiny of Northern Ireland. Unionists no longer will tolerate the dictation of Dublin and its lackies.

“Unionism reawakened, reinvigorated and revived will take the SDLP on any day. Their united Ireland is a dream never to gain reality.

“They can either sleep on like fools or waken up to reality and make a proper contribution to an Ulster that is determined to give fair play to all its people.”

  • Click to stay connected with more stories like this
  • Sign up here to receive news by email. Once per day, no spam.

Most Read in Ireland