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1995 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Ballymena

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Ballymena, held on Thursday 21st December 1995.


QUESTION:

Can I ask you about the Royal divorce issue?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have nothing whatever further to say to the statement that was issued last night by Buckingham Palace. That crystallises the position, it is a matter that is being dealt with, I have nothing further to add on that.

QUESTION:

You must have something to say.

PRIME MINISTER:

I have nothing to say to you this morning about that issue.

QUESTION:

John Wheeler said last night that the IRA had been behind the recent killings in Belfast but he did not regard them as a breach of the IRA ceasefire. How can you say that the IRA ceasefire is not being breached if you have acknowledged that they are killing people?

PRIME MINISTER:

We don't know precisely who was responsible for that the other night. We have our suspicions but we don't know. What is perfectly clear is that that was utterly unacceptable behaviour and there are several things that are being said and done at the moment by Sinn Fein and the IRA that are frankly, bluntly, incorrect.

Firstly, they are suggesting that the only people who want them to disarm and to decommission is the British Government - that is not true, it is the overwhelming feeling of the people of Northern Ireland; secondly, they are saying that this is a condition recently introduced - that is not true; and thirdly, they are trying to maintain a fiction that I think most people in Northern Ireland will find laughable, that Sinn Fein and the IRA are wholly separate organisations. We know that not to be true, the people of Northern Ireland know that not to be true and they could be far better spending their time determining on how they can carry the process forward by deciding themselves that it is no longer acceptable behaviour to indulge in punishment beatings, it is no longer acceptable behaviour to decide themselves that they are the judge, the jury and the determiner of the sentence for people who, if they have committed crimes, should be before the civil courts. It is time that they recognised that the people of Ulster aren't going to stand for that any more and I don't believe the people of Ulster are fooled by the soft soap we get from them time and time again and we will make that quite clear.