Belfast City Council (Meeting)

– in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 5th July 1988.

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Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party 3:32 pm, 5th July 1988

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, the physical assaults mounted in the Belfast city council last night by IRA Sinn Fein members on Unionist councillors, resulting in the break-up of the council meeting and some five Unionist councillors having to receive hospital treatment. Last night in the Belfast city council IRA Sinn Fein councillors yet again showed their true colours when they loosed their thuggery on Loyalist members. One woman councillor was thrown to the ground; an attempt was made to beat her head in with a chair. Another alderman, who had previously been shot and seriously wounded by the IRA, was viciously punched. Altogether, according to police reports, five members had to be taken to hospital—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I am listening to this application.

Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

The first blow was struck by IRA Sinn Fein member O'Mullior, and his party members McKnight, Lavery, McCann, Holland, Fitzimmons, McGuigan and Maskey all joined in. Loyalist members had been provoked by them throughout the proceedings and when violence was used against them they had no option but to defend themselves. The Alliance party spokesman in the corporation confirmed that—of course, he is not a member of either of the Unionist parties.

For the past three years Loyalist members throughout Ulster have been expected by the Government to tolerate gunmen in the council chambers. While the Government will not talk to Sinn Fein gunmen, they expect Unionist members whose friends have been murdered and whose homes have been burnt by these thugs to conduct local government business.

I call on the Government today to proscribe Sinn Fein and keep violence out of the council chambers.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely, the physical assaults mounted in Belfast council last night by IRA Sinn Fein members on Unionist councillors, resulting in the break-up of the council meeting and some five Unionist councillors having to receive hospital treatment. I am sure that the whole House has listened with deep concern to what the hon. Gentleman has said about what went on in Belfast last night, but I regret that I do not consider the matter that he has raised as being appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20, and I cannot therefore submit his application to the House.