15 October 2005

PUP 'must deal with UVF killing'

Belfast Telegraph

Funding from Stormont hinges on outcome

By Chris Thornton, Political Correspondent
cthornton@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
15 October 2005

THE PUP conference today to discuss its links with the UVF should be used to "confront the issue of UVF violence once and for all", the SDLP said last night.

With the UVF ceasefire no longer recognised by the Government, the party's funding at Stormont could hinge on the outcome of the closed door meeting in Belfast.

The loyalist party was due to discuss their UVF contacts just prior to the release of a new Independent Monitoring Commission report on the state of paramilitary activities.

The UVF has been repeatedly cited by the ceasefire watchdog for engaging in violence - including the ongoing feud with the LVF - and other crime.

On Thursday, the Secretary of State said he is still deciding whether to keep cutting off the party's Assembly allowance.

He told MPs: "There remains outstanding the question whether a financial penalty should be imposed on the Progressive Unionist party following the recommendation made to me earlier in the year by the IMC.

"I intend to watch developments carefully over the next few months," he said.

SDLP Assembly member Alban Maginness said: "From the point of view of the wider community, the PUP really only needs one item on its agenda this weekend: UVF murder.

"Whether we are going through a lull in their vendetta against the LVF or actually seeing the end of it, we cannot live indefinitely under the active threat of murder.

"The UVF also has questions to answer on the orchestrated violence at the Whiterock parade and the activities of its units and members in north Antrim.

"The choice is very clear. The PUP has a positive role to play - if the UVF abandons violence. Either the PUP can lead this particular section of the loyalist community towards peaceful democratic goals, or the commanders in the shadows can lead their members on a road which will lead inevitably to jail."

The PUP said it was not making any comment on the meeting.

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