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12/10/2001

Reid declares UDA UVF and LVF ceasefires ended

The Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) ceasefires have been declared over by Northern Ireland Secretary of State Dr John Reid.

Making the announcement late on Friday October 12, Dr Reid said the level and the nature of the latest violence had reached the stage where the organisations could no longer be said to be on a ceasefire, and said the rioting in the Shankill Road area of west Belfast had been linked to the UDA.

Explaining his decision Dr Reid said: “They have actively stepped up sectarian hatred and following last night’s unrest there was serious violence which was obviously orchestrated by the UDA and the UFF. They have systemically breached that ceasefire and I believe the patience of the people of Northern Ireland has run out. I have therefore come to the decision today to specify the UDA and UFF.”

The Secretary also decided to specify the LVF, as a result of information supplied by security sources, about what he described as the “despicable murder” of journalist Martin O’Hagan.

Dr Reid stated that the three groups have been re-specified - meaning the government no longer recognises their ceasefires.

He said the move comes not just because of Thursday night’s violence but also because of a measured and concentrated cycle of violence by the groups.

However he said: “Last night I put the UDA to the test and they failed that test.”

The news follows reports from security sources that said the UDA was also behind Thursday's trouble on the Shankill Road, during which vehicles were hi-jacked and burned and the police were attacked with petrol and blast bombs.

Two weeks ago Dr Reid was on the brink of declaring the UDA's ceasefire to be over, but changed his mind and decided to give the UDA another chance.

At that time he said he would give no further warnings if it became clear the biggest loyalist paramilitary organisation was involved in more violence.

Meanwhile, police inquiries into the murder of Martin O'Hagan are said to be concentrating on the LVF, a loyalist splinter group.

The Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used in the past by both the Loyalist Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association, said it carried out the murder. (AMcE)

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