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Deep Unease At UDA Handout

22 March, 2007

South Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey today said that many nationalists, and particularly victims of the UDA, were deeply disturbed at the British government proposal to fund the organisation with over £1m of
taxpayers money.

Mr Maskey said:

"Sinn Féin is fully supportive of efforts being made by loyalists to carve out a future role within the political process. However we share the deep unease felt by many nationalists, particularly victims, at the British
government proposal to hand over £1m of taxpayers money over to the UDA.

"It must be remembered that this organisation has always enjoyed a close relationship with the British State throughout its existence. British Agents have since the start controlled and directed UDA activities and the British
government didn't even ban the UDA until 1992, despite that fact that it had been involved in the murders of hundreds of nationalists.

"It is also worth noting that 13 years on from its cessation the UDA has yet to engage with the IICD and deal with the issue of arms. It continues to be involved in drug dealing, extortion and intimidation. It continues to be
involved in racist and sectarian attacks. The UDA does not need a handout from the taxpayer to end these activities and demonstrate that it is committed to the political process. These are the first steps the UDA need
to take before looking for further assistance from the British government." ENDS

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