Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has given a belated welcome to the decision of the Secretary of State to specify the UVF, but stated that it still leaves questions regarding what was the threshold of violence that forced the Government to make this move and how they are defining a ceasefire.
David Ford said, “This move by the Secretary of State to specify the UVF is long overdue. It does send out a signal to society that violence is unacceptable. But the power of this message has been diminished through the Government’s delay in responding to events over the summer and even last week’s IMC report.
“Questions still remain regarding the Government’s decision making process. The NIO statement mentions both the deaths in the Loyalist fued, and the past weekend’s rioting and attacks upon the police. But it is far from clear what was the threshold of violence that tipped the Government over the edge. Did they only act on the basis of the weekend violence? Why did they now act on the basis of the four murders over the summer attributed to the UVF?
“Exactly how the Government are now defining a ceasefire is a matter of considerable importance? Do breaches of it only occur on the basis of attacks on the security forces, or to they now consider murders of people from the perceived same side of the community to be breaches too? These are questions that Alliance will be pursuing with the Secretary of State in a meeting on Thursday.”