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29 November 2001 Edition

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UDP disbands

The Ulster Democratic Party has finally given up the ghost. On Wednesday in a short statement the party announced that it was disbanding. In truth, the UDP, a front for the UDA, has been in disarray as an organisation in recent times. The heightened UDA sectarian campaign against Catholics over the past year left the UDP in something of a limbo situation. Onetime prominent spokesperson Gary McMichael had not been heard of in recent times, the spokesperson duties falling to the more menacing figure of sectarian killer John White.

Such was the state of the party's disorganisation that it could not contest this year's local government elections because it had failed to register as a political party. It was also announced on Wednesday that there would be no media comment on the disbanding of the UDP by any of its former leaders. As one journalistic succinctly put it, this is a case of "the UDA putting a lid on the UDP".

Said Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey: "The fact that the UDP existed has had little or no bearing on the situation on the ground, especially for Catholics in areas like North Belfast.

"What the UDA need to do is end their sectarian pogrom and allow people to live their lives without constant threat and intimidation."

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