Belfast Telegraph

UDA chiefs set for stormont meeting

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
18 October 2004

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson cannot "deliver" loyalist paramilitary guns, a senior UDA representative has warned.

But David Nicholls, of the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) which advises the UDA, said he believed the DUP had a responsibility to help loyalists "come out of conflict".

Mr Nicholls also said the DUP - which has said it might meet loyalists directly "in the right context" - had helped to give birth to the loyalist groups.

His comments came amid reports that UDA leaders are preparing for a meeting with Secretary of State Paul Murphy.

According to loyalist sources, it will be their first meeting with the Stormont chief since February.

But UPRG representatives also held a meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in January at which he said there could be no tolerance of violence, drug dealing and racketeering.

Mr Nicholls said he expected an agenda for talks with the Government would be agreed soon, and there had been recent contact.

But speaking on the BBC Politics Show, he said: "I don't think Peter Robinson can deliver loyalist guns."

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