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Murphy needs to be firm with UDA

2 November, 2004

Commenting on today's meeting between the British Secretary of state Paul Murphy and the representatives of the UDA, Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey said that it had to be made clear to the UDA that its campaign against Catholics and ethnic minorities had to end along with its drug dealing operations in working class loyalist areas.

Mr Maskey said:

" Sinn Féin welcome any dialogue between the various strands involved in this process. However at today's meeting Paul Murphy needs to make it very clear to the UDA that the attacks on Catholics and ethnic minorities have to end, that the agitation on the interfaces has to end and that the massive drug pushing operations in working class loyalist areas have to end.

" Many people are also getting tired of the constant moaning in advance of these discussions about the supposed raw deal loyalist communities have got since the cessation's. Deprivation and poverty exist not just in the loyalist community. However the reality is that these issues can only be tackled on the basis of need not perception as the loyalist representatives seem to suggest. That is what was decided by the last Assembly and that is what the British government are required to do. Sinn Féin will not accept the British government deviating from this path for some political or other reason.

" Working class loyalist areas have been let down. They have been let down by the woeful political leadership which has been provided by the unionist parties over the years. They have also been let down by organisations like the UDA who will today demand regeneration while at the same time continuing to pedal drugs within those very same communities. The very obvious social and economic problems which exist within some loyalist communities will not end until these communities are given real political leadership and they will not simply be cured by throwing money at the problem." ENDS

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