Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Ulster Democratic Party


    The UDP totally condemns and actively opposes all such activity irrespective of which organisation is involved or of the reasoning behind the intimidation.

    The UDP works closely with BASE 2, which is part of the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders. BASE 2 is a highly reputable organisation that was founded in 1990 to provide a crisis intervention service for individuals and families placed under paramilitary threat in Northern Ireland.

    Our work with BASE 2 involves seeking to verify or otherwise claims of loyalist paramilitary threat against individuals or families and, where such a threat exists, seeking to have that threat removed.

    Whilst we can claim a measure of success in alleviating the problem of intimidation, unfortunately our influence in this regard is limited. It must be said however that our efforts, constrained as they are, are in stark contrast to some other political parties who, whilst extremely vocal in their condemnatory comments, make no real effort to try and alleviate the problem. Indeed it would appear that instances of paramilitary intimidation, whether real, imagined or invented, serve some parties merely as a means for party political exploitation.

    Where possible, the UDP also deals directly with, and on behalf of, people who feel under threat from loyalist paramilitaries.

    The UDP believes that ultimately the problem of paramilitary intimidation can only be solved when the habitual tendency within some sections of our community to "short circuit" the justice system by engaging paramilitary groups to exert summary justice, is discontinued. This, of course, will also require the paramilitaries to desist from taking on such a role and for the police service to be more pro-active in tackling petty crime—particularly in working class areas. Relationships need to be re-established between the police and large sections of the community in order for the blight of paramilitary intimidation to be removed from our society. During 30 years of high-level terrorist activity, the RUC were, understandably, diverted from dealing effectively with many instances of petty criminality. This created a vacuum that, for many reasons, was filled by paramilitaries. The police must now seek to reclaim that ground.

10 October 2000

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