Sinn Fein MP Molloy held secret meeting with UVF
Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy has revealed details of a secret meeting he had with UVF representatives in the early 1990's.
Mr Molloy told The Irish News that the meeting took place in the car park of the Glengannon Hotel in Dungannon.
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The meeting was attended by Mr Molloy, two UVF representatives and Protestant clergyman.
Mr Molloy said that he discussed ending violence in the area as the IRA ceasefire of 1994 loomed.
It came after a period of sustained violence in the Mid-Ulster area between the UVF and IRA.
Sources told the Irish News that the meeting came about after a call between a Protestant Minister and republican sympathiser and may have taken place in June 1993.
Mr Molloy said that he attended the meeting in his role as a Sinn Fein representative.
“It was quiet clear we were dealing with loyalists,” he said.
“They did identify themselves as UVF and they were speaking on behalf of the UVF.”
“I was open to discussion and an opportunity to meet with loyalists and said that there was no need for conflict between nationalists and unionist communities and that we needed to find a way through it and manage the change within it."
The Sinn Fein MP said that there was a decrease in violence following the meeting.
“The message I was taking from it was there had been a number of killings in the area of loyalists and UDR and what these people were saying was ‘we want this to stop, we want to reassure republicans we will not be retaliating and we want it to stop on both sides’,” Mr Molloy said.
“The message coming to me as a Sinn Fein representative was that this loyalist group was saying they were stopping.
“I don’t think there were any other attacks in that area, there was an understanding that things were moving on.”
Mr Molloy said he was willing to attend the meeting in an attempt to bring the violence to an end.
“You were meeting families and people trying to mediate and trying to accommodate,” he said.
“Particularly for Sinn Fein councillors at the time you were fighting the case for republicans.
“For a good number of years we had been following coffin after coffin and now saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Any chance to relieve pressure and exchange ideas, all of that was important.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital