[Sinn Fein]

14th June 2002

People sceptical about loyalist statement

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has said that nationalists and republicans will judge today's statement from the Loyalist Commission on the effect it has on the ground in areas like North Belfast and the Short Strand.

Mr Kelly said:

"Well I have to say that we have heard statements like this before from loyalist groups, particularly the UDA in North Belfast. Each time they have been followed by more attacks on Catholic families and their homes.

"This statement attempts to place responsibility for the violence in interface areas in the door of republicans while it ignores the fact that loyalist groups have been involved in an anti-Catholic pogrom for the past two years. Indeed at the time this statement was being discussed loyalists were throwing pipe bombs into the Short Strand.

"However this statement will be judged by the effect if has on the ground. If it is a sign that loyalists groups are going to end their campaign then it is obviously a welcome step. However people in the communities directly suffering from loyalist violence will be treating it with justifiable scepticism."

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