SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat has called on the DUP to show consistency in its approach to dealing with groups linked to paramilitaries. Mr Dallat made his comments after a DUP spokesman stated last night that they would continue to work with the UPRG the political wing of the UDA.
He said: “Given the current stance of the DUP, their determination to abandon the public and reduce the Assembly to a farce over paramilitary violence, it is grossly hypocritical that they will be conducting ‘business as usual’ with the Ulster Political Research Group, the so-called political advisors to the UDA.
“The DUP are now performing the ultimate trapeze act, grabbing support from any quarter unconcerned by links with loyalist killer gangs while at the same time using republican killers as an excuse for refusing to engage in a power-sharing government.
“The murder of Brian McIlhagga in Ballymoney this year by the UDA appears to have been forgotten by the DUP and they showed scant regard for the single parent who had a pipe bomb explode on her windowsill a few weeks ago. Equally unimportant to the DUP was the 15 year old boy who was kneecapped and exiled to a hostel in Belfast or indeed the father of a young child who had his leg amputated after a visit by the ‘alternative police force’ operating openly in the Causeway Coast area.
“The UPRG is nothing more than apologists for the UDA, an organisation still involved in intimidation against Catholic-owned businesses and horrific violence against their own community. They are propagandists for those opposed to the PSNI and the rule of law.
“Is the DUP serious that they can continue these double-standards and at the same time masquerade as a credible political party holding the office of First Minister. Can they seriously claim to have peace and reconciliation as a top priority? There can be no ambiguity when it comes to violence on our streets, loyalist or republican.”