British ministers warned against meeting UDA members

Northern state papers 1987: ‘Close association with sectarian violence’ highlighted

 

The UDA’s “close association with sectarian violence” meant ministers should not meet its members, even to discuss a document advocating powersharing, Northern Ireland officials advised in 1987.

In January 1987, the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), launched by John McMichael, issued its Common Sense document, advocating a powersharing administration without an Irish dimension.

In an analysis of the document for the secretary of state, Tom King, dated February 22th, 1987, DC Kirk of the constitutional and political division of the Northern Ireland Office urged caution.

He stressed that, although the document was issued by the UPRG, “we know this group to be part of the UDA and, in fact, the document is signed by all key members of the UDA”.

“A meeting now would be widely misinterpreted by the minority community and by moderates as endorsing UDA activities,” he wrote.