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David Hansen challenged over Orange Order paramilitary links

5 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan has challenged the British Direct Rule Minister David Hansen to comment, after two more convicted loyalist paramilitaries were exposed as leading members of the Orange Order. Mr McGuigan's comments come after David Hansen decided to hand over £100,000 of taxpayers money to the Orange Order.

Mr McGuigan said:

"The Orange Order has over many years been repeatedly linked to unionist paramilitary death squads. Almost every Orange Parade is accompanied by a band carrying regalia of either the UDA or UVF. The Orange Order sits on the North and West parades forum with both organisations. These are undeniable facts.

"Also in recent years more and more convicted unionist paramilitary figures, including those involved in sectarian murders have been exposed as also holding Orange Order membership, including members of the Shankill Butchers gang.

"In the past month alone in court cases in both Scotland and England convicted unionist paramilitaries from both the UDA and UVF have been linked to the Orange Order. Last month Stephen Moffett a self confessed UDA and Orange Order member was jailed in Scotland. Yesterday in Liverpool two self confessed UVF and Orange Order members were convicted of series offences.

"I am calling on David Hansen the British Direct Rule Minister who has decided to hand over £100,000 of tax payers money to the Orange Order to comment on these latest cases. Is he in any position to guarantee that this money will not end up in the hands of unionist paramilitaries who without doubt are prevalent within the Order. Silence form the Minister on this matter is not an option." ENDS

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