27/02/2002

Tory MP meets loyalist paramilitary chiefs in Belfast

The Conservative spokesman on Northern Ireland Quentin Davies has held face-to-face talks with loyalist paramilitary chiefs.

The meeting between Mr Davies and members of the self-named Loyalist Commission took place at a secret location in Belfast on Tuesday February 26.

It has been reported members of the three main paramilitary organisations - the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando were present at the meeting which lasted about two and a half hours.

Afterwards, Mr Davies, the MP for Grantham and Stamford said he found the talks “useful”.

No loyalist paramilitary organisations have started to disarm, despite the IRA act of decommissioning last year.

Both the UDA and Loyalist Volunteer Force ceasefires were declared invalid by Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid following a sustained campaign of pipe bombings and rioting in north Belfast and the murder of Sunday World journalist Martin O'Hagan.

Meanwhile it is has emerged that the UDA forced contractors extending Carnmoney cemetery to leave the site, a fortnight after Daniel McColgan was murdered.

They were working only a short distance away from the spot where the father of one was shot dead. The men have not returned to the cemetery and work has been suspended.

(AMcE)

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