26/07/2002

Attwood warns of 'threat' from west Belfast UDA

SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood has warned that the west Belfast battalion of the UDA has extended its influence and control to other parts of Belfast.

Mr Attwood was speaking following the recent violence in north Belfast were Catholic teenager Gerard Lawlor was murdered by the UFF – a militant wing of the UDA.

Mr Attwood said: "It is now becoming clear that the west Belfast battalion of the UDA has extended its influence, if not its control, into north Belfast and may have the intention of doing likewise in other parts of the city.

"This expansion presents a greater threat. It has now become more compelling that the leadership of the UDA in west Belfast is pursued and prosecuted. A situation whereby its leadership has greater influence cannot be tolerated."

Mr Attwood said that with the expansion of the UDA, the challenge of confronting its leadership through the police, the courts and the community had become more urgent.

(MB)

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