RealNews

Cautious welcome for loyalist move

A decision by the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association to end paramilitary activity for 12 months has been welcomed by the Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy. Mr Murphy said Saturday’s statement from the organisation, which was released through the Ulster Political Research Group, was “a step in the right direction”. However, he added the move “must result in a permanent end to paramilitary activity in all its aspects”. The UDA said it would be restructuring the organisation, but added its position on decommissioning had not changed. The group said it would only hand over weapons once the republican movement had done so. The UDA ceasefire has not been recognised since October 2001 when the then secretary of state, John Reid, declared it over following a series of sectarian pipe bombings, murder and attacks on the police. Speaking on Saturday, Mr Murphy said: “I welcome the commitment to re-engage with the Decommissioning Body, to work to defuse tension at the interfaces and the recognition of the damage that drug abuse does to the community. Full Story

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