Paisley said he was “amazed” that the Northern Secretary, Peter Hain, had “lectured” unionists on how they should respond.
He said whatever words the IRA used would be “meaningless”.
Earlier, Hain had said that trust was “essential” for progress, and the required transition from a permanent end to paramilitary and criminal activity had not been made.
“For that trust to be restored,” he said, “there must be a clear, definitive and permanent end to paramilitary activity and its associated criminality.”
Hain went went on to say that, although words, alone, would not be enough, they would be “an important start.” He hoped “people would not underestimate the significance of a credible statement from the IRA.”
Paisley, however, launched a broadside at Hain, telling him he should realize that unionists saw the IRA as having “a policy of murder, violence, criminality, robbery, and other vile acts.”
Unionists, said Paisley, were “not going to be fooled by any statement coming from the lips of those who have lied continually and engaged in a campaign of evil.”
No “doctored statement” from the IRA, he said, would influence unionists who would not “settle for anything that bears the trademarks of IRA duplicity.”
“An awakened unionist people are determined to bring to an end for ever any more surrenders of their inalienable rights as members of the United Kingdom. The battle lines are drawn and there can be no retreat and no surrender,” he said.
David Simpson, the DUP MP who ousted the former UUP leader, David Trimble, from his Westminster seat, said this week that all shades of republicanism, whether dissidents in the “Real” or “Continuity” IRA, or in the mainstream IRA, were “pigs of the same litter.”
Irish government sources, however, said that DUP bluster masked the fact that the party would have to reach a deal with Sinn Fein if they wanted to restore the Stormont assembly.
Speaking in Belfast, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said unionists will be expected to demonstrate their commitment to power-sharing once the IRA has made a credible and unambiguous commitment to a purely peaceful future.
Secretary Hain, meanwhile, has also, however, antagonized republicans. Firstly by ordering the re-imprisonment of republican ex-prisoner, Sean Kelly, without giving any public details about his reasoning.
Secondly, during the same speech when he appealed to unionists not to under-estimate the significance of the expected IRA statement, he also stipulated a time of “verifying” an IRA decision to stand down.
In response, Sinn Fein told Hain he should “stop pretending he is an honest broker in the peace process”.
The party’s MP for Newry/Armagh, Conor Murphy, said that Hain needed to “end the pretence that he is some sort of honest broker in this process. He is not. He is the British Secretary of State and has commitments and obligations to honor,” Murphy said.
Bertie Ahern is also concerned about the Kelly re-imprisonment, and has asked Irish officials to find out the reason he was returned to prison last week. Ahern said it would be odd if Kelly was arrested without a good reason.
“Either it is a mistake – and if it is the authorities need to look at it, or there must have been substantial evidence that he was not kosher,” Ahern said. “It has to be one or the other. Frankly at this stage I don’t know but I intend on finding out.”
The 33-year-old was originally jailed for bombing a fish shop in 1993 on the Shankill Road and killing nine people. He was released with other prisoners in July 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.
Hain said he had ordered Kelly’s re-arrest because, undisclosed, security intelligence indicated he had become involved again with terrorist activity.
Meanwhile, another sign that the IRA may be about to make its long-awaited statement came this week when the organization in Derry admitted it was responsible for the shooting dead of a schoolgirl in the city more than 30 years ago.
At the time, the IRA had blamed British troops for the death of Kathleen Feeney, aged 14, on November 14, 1973. She had been hit by a single bullet during a gun battle near her home.
The Feeney family said the statement would bring them closure, a sentiment echoed by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.
Sinn Fein has also backed efforts by the British and Irish governments to appoint a specialist forensic scientist to locate the remaining five bodies of nine people killed and secretly buried by the IRA during the troubles.
The party had been arguing for the appointment of such a specialist for the last two years, believing that the IRA has accurately pinpointed the burial sites.