Points of View: SDLP Must Say No to All Paramilitary Activity

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Byline: l Ross Williamson, chairman, Lagan Valley Young Unionist Association

I NOTED with interest the call by SDLP Leader Mark Durkan for unionists to condemn loyalist paramilitaries.

As a member of the Ulster Unionist Party I have lost count of the number of times I have heard such colleagues as David Trimble, Jeffrey Donaldson, David Burnside and Sir Reg Empey condemn loyalist paramilitaries without reservation.

If Mr Durkan were to read the motion passed by the UUC in September and refer to Mr Trimble's speech to the UUP Conference in Londonderry in October he would see that my party has called for an end to all paramilitary activity and for all paramilitary organisations to disband. If the SDLP leader is still unclear, this means loyalists as well as republicans.

I wonder if the irony will be lost on Mr Durkan that we are currently in a political vacuum because he would not leave Sinn Fein/ IRA behind and form a government with democratic parties such as the UUP, DUP and Alliance Party. For years, the SDLP have preached that democrats should come together and leave behind the tribal terrorist linked groups: yet, when it comes to the crunch, Mr Durkan has proven yet again that he is all talk and no action. …