[Sinn Fein]

13 October 1998

Challenge to DUP on violence links

Statement from the Sinn Fein assembly member for West Belfast Alec Maskey on the emergence of a link between the Red Hand Defenders and the DUP fronted Justice for Protestants Group.

Cllr. Maskey said:

``The conformation that political cover for the activities of the Red Hand Defenders group is being provided by a DUP backed organization, underlines what many have believed for years that there is a link between the DUP and violent loyalist groups.

Cllr. Maskey continued:

``There is a long line of instances of DUP involvement with loyalist paramilitaries. The most public include the launch of the Ulster Resistance Movement and the support for given by the party to former LVF leader Billy Wright.

Cllr. Maskey concluded:

``The fact that a DUP councillor Mr. Jack McKee is the public face of a group that is part of the same organisation that has been involved in numerous attacks on property and at least one murder, is of no surprise to many nationalists, and confirms what Sinn Fein has been saying for many years. It is time for the DUP to come clean and acknowledge publicly their involvement in this group.''

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