Gerry Kelly of Sinn Féin has released a statement saying Loyalist pro-British death squads should leave the stage.
However, members of Gerry’s party are involved in a number of mutually beneficial “community organisations” in Belfast and beyond with UVF and UDA members.
Members of Gerry’s party go on British Government projects and funded foreign junkets to the Somme and other places with members of the UVF. This has included social functions in the Con Club – alleged to be run by East Belfast UVF.
Members of Gerry’s party did a deal with the UVF in September 2016 that resulted in the Orange Order trampling over the rights of Ardoyne residents, and rewarded Loyalists for an illegal hate camp managed by the UDA and Woodvale UVF.
Members of Gerry’s party have given court references to sectarian murderers and other members from the ranks of the North Belfast UDA.
Members of Gerry’s party invited UDA Supreme Commander Jackie McDonald to events in West Belfast, including in the Roddy McCorley Club. The same club was instructed by Sinn Féin not to host events by Republicans. This resulted in the family of IRA Volunteer Patricia Black, an eighteen-year-old who died on Active Service in England, removing a plaque dedicated to her memory from the premises.
Gerry and his party rightly assert that loyalist death squads were a British Government construct – armed, directed and provided with information by British intelligence. They remain protected by the same Government, with families denied access to the truth.
Despite this Gerry and his party support the British police in Ireland and the judiciary that continue to protect members of these Loyalist organisations. At the same time, as recently as last week, members of Gerry’s party were issuing statements calling on all forms of repressive British State apparatus to target Republicans.
Sinn Féin hypocrisy and duplicity around the issue of Loyalist Paramilitaries and their continued existence should be exposed for what it is.
Dee Fennell, is Saoradh National Spokesperson and a community activist based in North Belfast