Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

All UDA’s brigades to give up their guns

Writing on the wall for weapons: A woman walks past a loyalist paramilitary mural in Belfast
A hooded UVF gunman
The funeral of Marie Wilson, killed along with 10 others in no warning explosion during a Remembrance Day Service at Enniskillen Cenotaph. 8/11/1987

More of the jigsaw pieces in the loyalist decommissioning picture have slotted into place as it emerged that all of the UDA’s so-called ‘brigades’ have taken part in decommissioning.

An informed source confirmed every brigade had destroyed weapons — in a move ordered by the organisation’s inner council leadership.

That command includes the paramilitary brigadiers Jackie McDonald, Billy McFarland and Matt Kincaid.

Asked to detail the extent of decommissioning, a source said it had involved “all areas — united (and acting) together”.

Did that mean all had decommissioned weapons?

“That would be fair. That would be right,” the source responded.

The decommissioning sequence is becoming clearer.

General de Chastelain and his colleagues on the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning arrived in Ireland a fortnight ago.

The modalities or methods for decommissioning had already been agreed.

The UVF and associated Red Hand Commando moved together — engaging in the first acts of decommissioning.

Sources claim all weapons under the control of the organisations were decommissioned.

This includes guns, ammunition and explosives.

The two groups believe they have now finished their part of the decommissioning process.

Days later, the UDA moved. The organisation made a start to decommissioning.

A source who has spoken to this newspaper said both the IICD and the Government were aware that the paramilitary group did not plan to decommission its entire arsenal in one act.

It is still not clear when the details of these historic acts will be confirmed.

The different paramilitary organisations have not yet given General de Chastelain the “green light” to speak.

There had been speculation that leaders from the mainstream loyalist groups were to meet yesterday and that a statement may emerge. That did not happen.

But well placed and well-informed sources — paramilitary, political and police — are confident that it is only a matter of time before the news of major decommissioning is confirmed.

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