Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Editor's Viewpoint: UVF ceasefire is a blatant sham

The ceasefire by the UVF is increasingly being viewed by the general public as a sham.

The paramilitary organisation's 2007 pledge to transform itself into a civilian body seems to hold only as long as there is no challenge to the authority of the terrorists' leadership. Bobby Moffett, who was shot dead on the Shankill Road in broad daylight by UVF gunmen in May this year, was executed as a warning to others not to defy the organisation.

That same thinking is behind the violence which has defaced the Rathcoole estate on two nights this week. Police are confident the hijacking of vehicles, rioting and general disorder was all carefully orchestrated by the UVF. Why? Because detectives investigating historic murders carried out by the local brigade of the UVF mounted a series of house searches in the estate. The terrorist group is trying to send a message to the local population and to the police that it will not tolerate any investigation of its legacy of outrages.

While the rioting and burning - including an assault on a bus driver and the despicable stoning of an ambulance taking a patient to hospital - was criminal enough, UVF gunmen were also seen on the streets of the estate. This from an organisation supposed to have put its weapons beyond use.

The UVF's sinister, menacing presence, and its willingness to use violence to further its ends, is a real threat to peace and stability. While the Independent Monitoring Commission in its last report in September refused to call on the government to reclassify the group as one not on ceasefire, the evidence of its continuing terrorist credentials mounts up.

The UVF cannot be allowed to continue to attempt to hold communities to ransom with impunity. It makes a mockery of the peace process to blame the organisation for blatant ongoing terrorist and criminal acts - including murder - and then suggest that it remains committed to transformation.

That is not credible, as the law-abiding residents of Rathcoole will readily testify.

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