Sinn Fein slate unionist “silence” over UDA claim that they haven’t gone away

Posted By: October 07, 2015


Chris Hazzard hits out after The Loyalist article says terror group “are still in existence”

A UDA man fires a machine gun at Belfast show of strength in 2005
Sinn Fein has slated unionist “silence” over a UDA claim that they haven’t gone away asking: “where’s their outrage?”

MLA Chris Hazzard hit out after the terror group said in their magazine The Loyalist, that they “are still in existence and won’t be leaving any stage whilst republicans of any faction still exist”.

The magazine piece addressed a number of issues, but there was a clear attack on the DUP given its headline of ‘Graduated Resignations’ which was a pointed reference to unionism’s ‘graduated response’. That move, last year, saw Unionist parties join forces with loyalist groups including the UPRG and PUP to find a solution to stand-off between the Orange Order and protesters at Ardoyne in North Belfast, but is regarded to have ended in failure.

The magazine is linked to the South Belfast UPRG where former UDA chief Jackie McDonald is based, however it is unclear how representative of wider UDA concerns the article is.

The Loyalist cover story
The article added that the “organisation was set up with the protection of their community at its heart and this we will maintain”.

In 2007 the UDA, using its cover name of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, said it was standing down and putting its weapons beyond use, although the weapons would not be decommissioned. In 2010 it said it had put its weapons “verifiably beyond use”.

The article was widely circulated on social media yesterday, but Sinn Fein accused unionist leaders of hypocrisy compared to their response to claims by the Chief Constable that IRA members were involved in the Kevin McGuigan murder.

South Down MLA Mr Hazzard said: “Political unionism’s leaders have been at pains recently to attempt to justify, with much faux outrage, their walk-out from their Executive responsibilities.

“They cynically used the brutal murders of two men in Belfast Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan by criminals to engage in an inter-unionist electoral rivalry.

“Their silence today on the continued existence of the UDA is in contrast deafening.

Sinn Fein MLA Chris Hazzard
“This is the same UDA which murdered Brian McIlhagga earlier this year and which has continued its involvement in pipe bombings, intimidation, arson, drug dealing and extortion over the past number of years.

“This is the same organisation, which nailed a man’s hands to a table in July. This is the same UDA whose political wing unionism stood shoulder to shoulder with in an effort to force an Orange march through a nationalist community.

“Perhaps that’s why there are no statements or social media posts from the DUP or UUP on the UDA’s continued existence or maybe it’s just they don’t care when it comes to unionist paramilitaries.”