BRITAIN BACKS UDA CEASEFIRE
The British government tonight again recognised the UDA to be
abiding by its professed ceasefire, three years after it was
British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy said he had received assurances
that the unionist paramilitary group would end its campaign of
He said: "I am persuaded that UDA is now prepared to go down a
different road, moving away from its paramilitary past."
The UDA has concentrated on drugs and racketeering in recent
years, but has continued to mount attacks against Catholics,
rival paramilitary organisations and increasingly, ethnic
Earlier this month Mr Murphy held talks with members of the
UDA's "inner council", including Andre Shoukri and Jackie
Murphy was asked for 3 million pounds to help the UDA establish
security firms and provide jobs to its members. That meeting
apparently convinced Murphy to give the UDA another opportunity.
Three years ago, a series of murders led Murphy's predecessor,
John Reid, to end recognition of the UDA's 1994 ceasefire
declaration. Members of the group, released under the 1998 Good
Friday Agreement, faced the possiblity of being returned to
jail. That threat has now been removed.
A major announcement from the UDA is expected in return for the
recognition, which takes effect from midnight on Sunday.
"My decision, reached only after the most careful consideration,
is based on a number of factors, in line with the legislation,"
Mr Murphy said.
"They include the UDA's reaffirmation in February this year of
its Gregg Initiative, when it re-stated its commitment to its
ceasefire; the organisation's generally constructive approach
during this year's marching season; and some diminution in
paramilitary activity by its members over the past six months."
Bu he said the UDA continued to be involved in "a range of
unacceptable activities", which he said must be brought to an
Sinn Fein policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly said that while any
move would be welcome, it would only be judged against the
ending of the UDA's sectarian and racist campaign of violence