Unionist "phoney politics" criticised

 

STATEMENTS from loyalist prisoners read to the UDP conference illustrated tension between the loyalist parties and other unionist parties.

A statement read to delegates from "the 2nd Battalion West Belfast UDA/UFF, Maze" said: "The so called recognised unionist parties are now learning that the Protestant people have woken up to the phoney politics that have been preached by our out dated politicians.

"Paisley and his cohorts would have us branded criminals, yet he worked in the past with loyalist paramilitaries, Ulster Resistance and his Third Force, but only it appears, when it was to his benefit."

The statement added: "Her majesty's government continually give us the proverbial slap on the back and praise the UDA/UFF's restraint, yet it is only after a republican attack will they actually move on Ulster.

The best thing that Mr Major, could do for the people of Ulster, the statement continued, "is to call an early general election. Maybe then the Labour Party can have an opportunity to fully exploit the UDA/UFF's ceasefire, something that the present government seems unwilling or unable to do. It appears that the silence of the loyalist guns means nothing to Mr Major."

To republicans the message was: "Loyalists can only take so much provocation."

The Rev Roy Magee, who helped broker the loyalist ceasefire, paid tribute to the loyalist military leadership at the conference.

"We always have got to remember the people who are the cutting edge of decisions to hold a ceasefire. We have got to pay tribute to the military commanders, who [face] tremendous pressure - and I am aware of some of the pressure that they were under - particularly during the last summer."

Mr Magee warned: "The loyalists must not allow themselves to fall into the trap of allowing their agenda to be dictated by others, especially by the IRA.

"I believe what we should be doing at this point of time is uniting with the many who are calling on the two governments to act positively against all who are involved in terrorism," he told delegates.

However, he warned against a loyalist return to violence. "The tragic ultimate outcome of a return to violence is that at some stage they will have to confront the security forces and that is a situation I know loyalists do not want to get into."

Mr Magee outlined his vision of the future. "There should be a willingness to set aside for the moment the events of the past. That is not to suggest that we forget our history but rather that we should agree that it won't be an issue in our present struggle. History cannot be altered and if we spend time raking over the hurtful incidents we will be further trapped in our past to the detriment of the future.

"We should agree that we start with issues which are least controversial and realise that evolutionary rather than revolutionary change is the way forward," said Mr Magee.