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Statement by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid at Hillsborough, 28 September 2001



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Research: Martin Melaugh
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Statement by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid at Hillsborough, 28 September 2001

My intention had been to come here tonight to specify the UDA and to declare their ceasefire over.

As all of you will know, I am continuously briefed by the Chief Constable about the activities and intentions of the UDA and other paramilitary organisations. Based on those briefings, I am in no doubt that the scale, level, and pattern of UDA violence merits the decision to specify.

I have here the order I was going to sign.

However, in the course of a briefing received within the past two hours it was communicated to me that the leadership of the UDA has accepted the damage their violence is doing and has decided to bring it to a halt.

I have no doubt that, however disparate the UDA is, if they have truly taken a decision to call a halt to violence it has within the power of its leadership to do so.

While I am deeply sceptical of any words emanating from this organisation, even at this eleventh hour I am prepared to put the UDA to the test.

I will judge the UDA by its actions tonight, tomorrow night and every night.

I am giving the UDA an opportunity to demonstrate from this moment and continuously thereafter that the violence as been brought to an end.

I give them this warning:

If there is UDA inspired violence in Belfast tonight, the UDA will be specified tomorrow.

If there is a continuation of the pipebomb campaign, the UDA will be specified.

The UDA will be tested on it actions, not its words, each day.

My primary objective has always been to save lives and to secure peace for the vast majority of law- abiding people in Northern Ireland.

The tolerance of the people of Northern Ireland - and this Government - has come to an end.

There will be no warnings or ultimatums. This is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks they can drag Northern Ireland back into chaos, violence, and sectarian hatred.


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