An Phoblacht 2 - 2022 small

20 March 1997 Edition

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Back issue: Strange Silence

Within the last month, members of the UDR have appeared in court for raiding the armoury of their own base in Coleraine and, more recently, for keeping an arsenal in an attic for Paisley's Third Force and being a party to one of the Shankill Butcher Lenny Murphy's murders. Nothing unusual for the UDR.

Given the RUC's bias towards their UDR comrades, those three cases are the tip of the iceberg. Given the courts' biased sentencing practices, recorded and suspended sentences are expected for these now `ex' members of the UDR.

Last Friday, Gerry Adams called for the immediate and total disbandment of the UDR, whose collusion with loyalist murder gangs is as old as the regiment itself, set up in 1970 to replace the B-Specials.

In 1985, shortly before the Hillsborough Agreement was signed, SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon made a fiery speech demanding that the UDR be disbanded forthwith. Indeed, after the Agreement was signed, `reforms' were promised. What they amounted to was a vague assurance that, where possible, a member of the sectarian RUC would accompany the sectarian UDR on patrol. Eighteen months later, this cosmetic measure has been dropped.

Since then the SDLP has remained strangely silent, particularly about the last two court cases. So have other self-styled spokespersons for the Northern nationalist community, like Peter Barry and Garret Fitzgerald. They are all presently otherwise engaged, either like Hume, Mallon and FitzGerald in milking the US lecture circuit or like Barry in jockeying for the Fine Gael leadership.

An Phoblacht 19 March 1987

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