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British Acceptance of UDA Violence

23 January, 2004

Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Representative Paul Butler has accused the British government of tolerating an 'acceptable level of UDA violence'. Mr Butler's remarks come after yesterday's meeting between the British Minister Jane Kennedy and representatives of the UPRG.

Mr Butler said:

" In recent weeks and months the UDA has been involved in a violent campaign including attacks on the homes of Sinn Féin members, prison staff, and ordinary Catholics. Last week they brought the city of Belfast to a stand still with a series of well-planned and co-ordinated bomb alerts.

" The British government response has been virtually nil. The fact is that since the UDA was formed the British government has tolerated and in many cases encouraged its activities. They did not ban the organisation until 1992 despite its involvement in a murder campaign against Catholics over a 20 year period.

" In the late 1980's through their agent Brian Nelson they rearmed the UDA and handed it thousands of intelligence files. They created a well armed murder machine and unleashed it on the nationalist and catholic population. British agents still remain at the very top of the UDA and UFF.

" Maybe this is the reason behind Britain's softly softly approach to the activities of the UDA. Certainly it is very obvious that the British government have a tolerance of what they view as an acceptable level of loyalist violence and activity. ENDS

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