UDA gives up is guns - reaction
Published Date: 06 January 2010
THE news that the UDA has put its weapons beyond use has been widely welcomed.
"The DUP welcomes the news that the UDA has decommissioned its illegally held weaponry will be welcomed throughout our country. The Party has been working for a considerable time to remove all illegal weapons from the streets of Northern Ireland and to deliver universal support for policing and the rule of law.
People will now be looking for clear evidence of a complete and total commitment to the peaceful and democratic path by all those previously involved with paramilitary groups.
The Troubles had a negative and damaging impact upon the communities in which paramilitaries operated down through the years. Working-class loyalist people will be pleased to see paramilitary organisations fading out of existence and a normal peaceful situation coming to the fore.
We need to work with community leaders in these areas to bring investment in local infrastructure and to remove the obstacles to creating a more prosperous economic environment with job creation and training opportunities.
The DUP will continue to work for the elimination of all paramilitary structures from our society."
Gerry Kelly - Sinn Fein Junior Minister
"Firstly if this statement by the UDA is verified by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning then it is a substantial move forward.
The nationalist and unionist populations will both be relieved that a substantial amount of guns are being taken off our streets and nationalists communities in particular would rest much easier as a result of that.
There can be no place for guns as we move forward in advancing the political process, this process has been about taking the gun out of Irish politics."
Owen Paterson - Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
"We very much welcome this news that has been fully verified by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.
This move justifies the tough stance we took in Parliament in refusing to agree to the extension of any further deadline for decommissioning of the UDA's weapons.
At the same time it is now imperative that the UDA ends all forms of criminal activities."
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs - Micheál Martin T.D
"This is an important day for the people of Northern Ireland.
It completes the process of decommissioning by the main loyalist paramilitary organisations, including the arms previously put beyond use by the UVF and Red Hand Commandos.
This is a statement of confidence in the political process and in the devolved institutions, one which moves us closer to that genuinely shared future for which so many have worked over decades. Another obstacle to dialogue and partnership has been removed."
The Rev. Donald P. Ker - president of the Methodist Church
"With many others I warmly welcome the announcement and independent confirmation of the decommissioning of arms by the UDA.
I sincerely hope that this move will open the way for the pressing needs of loyalist communities to be more fully addressed. Such needs are best met when all those involved in local community life are able to come together in partnership with the welfare of all in their locality as their chief motivation.
While the removal of weapons reduces the threat of armed violence we must recognise that the ongoing divisions in our society damage us all. Northern Ireland needs more people, at every level, who are prepared to build bridges of understanding and trust."
Although there appears to be a certain amount of skepticism from certain circles with regard to the validity of this announcement, it certainly comes as very good news to anybody who has an interest in a sustainable and lasting peace in the North of Ireland. They should be given the benefit of the doubt until this announcement can be verified. Afterall, that courtesy was extended to the IRA when they made their announcement to decommission their arms. Let’s hope that this will bring a long overdue end to the hostilities between the UDA/UFF and Irish Republicans.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America