[Sinn Fein]

14th January 2002

UDA threat - test for British government

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP and party colleague North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly will today meet the British Secretary of State John Reid at 5pm this evening. Speaking to the media in advance of the meeting Mr. Adams said:

``How the British government responds to the threat from the UDA and from its securocrats who are involved with that organisation, is a test for that government. Nationalists and republicans see the British response to the UDA as a measure of its seriousness about the peace process.

``It is very clear that there is a marked reluctance by the police force and the British security agencies to confront the threat posed by the UDA.

``Over the last two years the UDA has been responsible for almost 20 killings, scores of injuries, over 300 bomb attacks against Catholic homes, churches and property.

``It is clear that there is a marked difference in the institutional response to violence when it comes from loyalists as opposed to republicans.

``Why - it can't be because of a lack of information.

``The UDA was established by the British, it is an organisation that is riddled with British agents, either working for Special Branch or other intelligence services.

``The British government cannot hide from these facts. It cannot abdicate its responsibilities.

``That means concern is not enough. The British have a responsibility to confront the challenge posed by the UDA but more urgently, and more immediately it must exercise control over the securocrats who are running and paying their agents within the UDA. ``ENDS

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