Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Sinn Fein joins debate in memory of UDA leader John McMichael

Senior republicans are to take part in a debate in memory of UDA leader John McMichael.

Organisers are billing it as part of a series of events to celebrate his memory. As well as being a paramilitary leader, McMichael, who was killed in an IRA booby-trap bomb 25 years ago, was also identified with the political strategy document Common Sense.

Sean ‘Spike’ Murray, a former IRA leader, and Danny Morrison, once Sinn Fein’s publicity director, have confirmed they will participate in the debate, organised by a branch of the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group at a venue in Lisburn next month.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt and DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson are expected to be on the panel. Mr Donaldson said: “These kinds of debates couldn’t have taken place 10 years ago — maybe even five years ago.”

And Mr Morrison added: “It’s important that people can exchange views with each other.”

Loyalist Jackie McDonald will be in the audience. Andy Tyrie — the UDA’s so-called ‘supreme commander’ in the 1980s — will be invited.

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