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Sinn Féin launch dossier on unionist paramilitary activity

18 August, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly members Gerry Kelly and Philip McGuigan were today joined by party councillors Carol niCuillan and Billy Leonard as Sinn Féin launched a report detailing unionist paramilitary activity since June 2005.

Speaking at the press conference Mr Kelly said:

"The following report details unionist paramilitary activity since the beginning of June.

"It details over 85 instances of unionist paramilitary activity, including five murders in a period of just over two months.

"Although by no means comprehensive, due to the fact that many attacks and acts of intimidation go unreported, it offers a chilling picture of a campaign of orchestrated sectarian intimidation, particularly in areas where there is a vulnerable nationalist minority.

"This report paints a picture of a sustained and organised campaign of violence and intimidation. It shows very clearly where the threat to the peace process lies.

"This report should also act as a wake up call to unionist political leaders and in particular to the DUP.

"Both of the main unionist parties and the Orange Order sit on Forums and Commissions with the leaderships of the UVF and UDA. They undoubtedly have influence with these organisations.

"People have a right to know have they raised this ongoing campaign during these meetings.

"What are the DUP and UUP doing to end attacks on Catholics?

"What are they doing to end the ongoing feuding amongst the unionist paramilitaries?

"Sinn Féin is demanding that the leadership of the DUP and UUP tackle the issue of unionist paramilitary violence. Pretending that it is a reaction to the IRA or that it is 'tit for tat' is no longer tenable. It is time for the unionist parties to demonstrate to the entire community that they are serious about building a shared future.

"Part of that process must also be to respect the democratic mandate of Sinn Fein and sit down and engage in a constructive fashion and plan out the next steps in the wider peace process. The failure of the DUP to respect the mandate of Sinn Féin sends out a very clear message to those involved in this campaign that nationalists are not to be treated as equals.

"The current unionist paramilitary campaign must be tackled and addressed. A heavy burden of responsibility for this rests with Ian Paisley and the DUP as the largest unionist party." ENDS

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