The Loyalist Ceasefire - Statement by the Minster for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, T.D.
I have been informed that the Secretary of State, Mr John Reid, has decided to specify the UDA, UFF and LVF and to declare their ceasefires over. This decision has been made in light of the involvement of those organisations in a large number of violent incidents over a sustained period of time in many parts of Northern Ireland, including the disturbances in parts of Belfast last night.
Their actions have inflicted suffering and hurt on many communities. While these attacks have been primarily targeted at Catholic areas, many members of the Protestant community have not escaped unscathed from such violence.
I very much regret that these actions have compelled the Secretary of State to take this course of action. I know that Dr. Reid has reached this decision only with the greatest reluctance and on the basis of a very detailed assessment of the status of these organisations' ceasefires provided by the Chief Constable.
Today's announcement marks a setback to our combined efforts to bring about a new beginning for all the people in Northern Ireland, one free from violence and fear. However, it should concentrate attention within these organisations on the absolute need to end all violent activity. The needs and concerns of the Loyalist community, as with other communities in Northern Ireland, can only be properly addressed through exclusively peaceful means.
I call on all those with influence within these organisations to work for a complete end to these violent attacks.