Alliance demands UUP clarify position on “exiling”

Alliance Vice Chair Cllr Michael Long has condemned the exiling of a man from North Belfast by the UDA and has challenged the Ulster Unionist leadership – which is linked to the UDA in Belfast City Hall through the UPRG – to spell out its position on the recent vigilante activity and expulsions.

The Castlereagh Councillor said: “The events of the past week have seen hundreds of UDA yobs running round the streets of North Belfast intimidating local communities with apparent impunity. This has now led to the effective exiling of one of their alleged former members. Law and order in the area is like something out of the wild west.

“For years we have seen both loyalist and republican terror groups expelling people from Northern Ireland and it would appear that this has again taken place as a family have fled their home in the Westland estate. Whatever the alleged crimes of those exiled in this way, any such expulsions undermine the rule of law in this country.

“People expect political representatives to stand up in favour of law and order and against gangsterism. However, while we in Alliance are clear about our stance on such expulsions, the Ulster Unionist Party should tell us where they stand on the recent violence given their structural links with the UDA through the UPRG in City Hall. The only comments I have heard from Ulster Unionists were in support of a meeting in Ballysillan Leisure Centre.

“Ulster Unionists claim they use their links to lead loyalist paramilitary groups away from violence; however, recent events clearly show that in this unholy alliance the only people being led are the Ulster Unionists themselves, by the actions of the UDA.

“After almost a decade of this union designed to give the Ulster Unionists a few more seats on Council Committees, they merely stand by the UPRG in spite of UDA feuds, murders, extortion rackets, and now shows of strength and exiling of more people.

“The simple fact is that Ulster Unionists can no longer speak with any credibility in favour of the basic principles of law and order and democracy in Northern Ireland.”


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