Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly has condemned the DUP for “cosying up to the UDA” while Sinn Fein was “standing up against armed groups from right across the community”.
Mr Kelly was speaking following a meeting between Sinn Fein and the Chief Constable of the PSNI. The party expressed concerns over ongoing UDA activity, including the murder of rival loyalist Colin Horner in front of his young son in May.
Mr Horner was shot dead by a lone gunman in Bangor, County Down, moments after he had put his three-year-old son in the back of his car. It is the fourth killing carried out by the UDA in the last three years.
“There is huge public disquiet about continued UDA activity and criminality which includes murder, drug dealing, extortion and intimidation,” Mrs O’Neill said.
The party also raised with the PSNI Chief George Hamilton the recent court judgment that criticised his force for a failure to conduct an overarching examination of the extent of state collusion in the notorious Glenanne gang, which included military and police among its members and which murdered around 130 people.
Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson condemned what he said was Sinn Fein’s “one-sided agenda” at the meeting.
“This has been their approach to policing now for some time,” he said, calling on Sinn Fein to show more support for loyalist victims of the conflict.
Mr Kelly said Donaldson’s comments “owe more to appeasing the UDA for its support for the DUP in the recent Westminster election” and his party’s failure to address the issue of collusion.
“Sinn Fein has been consistent in our opposition to the activity of armed groups no matter where they emanate from,” Mr Kelly said.
“Sinn Fein has stood up against these groups while the DUP are cosying up to the UDA.
“The ongoing murders, drug dealing and intimidation being carried out by the UDA is a matter of grave concern to all.
“It’s frankly nonsense to suggest that there is anything one-sided about raising the ongoing criminality of a group whose activities are a blight on loyalist communities in particular and a threat to all.”
He challenged the DUP to state whether they support the calls from Justice Treacy for an overarching inquiry into the activities of the Glenanne Gang.
“They also need to tell the public whether they support the call by Justice Stephens on the PSNI to provide information to the courts in compliance with court orders.”