New UDA death threats

The newly-reaffirmed UDA “ceasefire” has been dismissed after threats were made against four republicans in the North using a recognised UDA codeword.

One of the men, Sean Hayes -- a former Sinn Féin councillor in Belfast -- was told he would be shot dead within 48 hours.

The PSNI police informed Mr Hayes that the threat was from the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name for the UDA, and was accompanied by a recognised code word.

South Belfast Assembly member, Alex Maskey, said the PSNI informed Mr Hayes that his name “along with that of three other republicans in Belfast, Dungannon and Warrenpoint were issued with death threats in a phone call to the BBC.

“It is deeply concerning that this UDA cover name has once again resurfaced only a week after the British Secretary of State proclaimed that the UDA was on cessation once again,” he said.

Earlier this month, the UDA pledged to end all violence and work towards complete disarmament. The announcement was made by Mr Tommy Kirkham of the Ulster Political Research group, the political representatives of the UDA.

Mr Kirkham, speaking to more than 2,000 UDA members in the loyalist Rathcoole estate on the northern outskirts of Belfast, said: “From today we are prepared to move into a process. Our commitment to that process will be to work towards a day when there is no longer a need for an UDA and a UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters).”

British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy said he was taking a gamble but he had decided to recognise the UDA’s ceasefire because he was persuaded the organisation was serious about seeking a new beginning.

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