L’UDA ‘MANCA’ L’APPUNTAMENTO
Meeting ‘saltato’ tra i leaders dell’UDA e il vice primo ministro Martin McGuinness
Stando ad una prima versione l’UDA avrebbe deciso di snobbare l’appuntamento ‘fissato’ per ieri pomeriggio presso gli uffici di Martin McGuinness a Stormont, dopo che il Belfast Telegraph aveva ieri reso nota la notizia.
McGuinness avrebbe dovuto incontrare una delegazione composta da Jackie McDonald e altri appartenenti al ‘consiglio interno’ (Matt Kincaid, John Bunting, Billy McFarland e un quarto uomo da est di Belfast) del gruppo paramilitare lealista freschi di ritorno da una serie di riunioni tenute a Bruxelles, per un totale di 4 persone.
Una seconda fonte, afferma invece che il diniego all’incontro sia imputabile all’ego della dirigenza dell’UDA, la quale avrebbe dichiarato: “Vogliamo fare un incontro, ma non lo vogliamo fare ora “.
Giornalista e fotografi hanno piazzati all’esterno di Stormont, hanno atteso inutilmente l’arrivo dei protagonisti di quello che era stato definito uno storico incontro tra repubblicani e lealisti.
UDA pulls out of meeting with Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness at eleventh hour (Belfast Telegraph)
Loyalists yesterday pulled out of talks with Martin McGuinness just hours after this newspaper publicly revealed their plan to meet.
The Deputy First Minister had been expecting a four-man delegation at his Stormont office yesterday afternoon, including the paramilitary ‘brigadier’ Jackie McDonald.
Other senior UDA figures on that organisation’s so-called ‘inner council’ were to join him at the talks, as loyalists arrived back in Belfast after two days of meetings in Brussels.
The McGuinness meeting was to be part of a sequence of background discussions in which loyalists have met the decommissioning general John de Chastelain and First Minister Peter Robinson in recent days.
But at the last minute the UDA took cold feet, apparently angry that the Belfast Telegraph had revealed the talks plan.
One source, however, offered another explanation — a falling out over “egos” at the top of the loyalist group.
Sources have confirmed the Stormont meeting was “arranged”, Mr McGuinness had been expecting to see “four senior people” — meaning senior UDA leaders, but as that historic first meeting approached his office was told: “We want to do a meeting, but we don’t want to do it now.”
Journalists and photographers unaware that the talks had been cancelled waited outside Stormont Castle yesterday afternoon.
This is an embarrassment for UDA leaders and a pullout that points to the personality clashes at the very top of the paramilitary organisation — an organisation of many chiefs.
But none of the group’s other leaders has McDonald’s public profile.
Matt Kincaid, John Bunting, Billy McFarland and a fourth man from east Belfast are the UDA’s other senior leaders — some of whom were expected at yesterday’s talks.
The paramilitary organisation is facing a final decommissioning deadline of February, but has concerns about the dissident republican threat and the future of the political institutions at Stormont.
They also want to talk about loyalist communities and the future for UDA members when that organisation finally steps off Ulster’s “war” stage.
Martin McGuinness had issues to raise with them, including their continuing activities and the work that has yet to be completed with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.
Last night one loyalist, trying to put a better face on yesterday’s events, said he was “very confident” a meeting with the Deputy First Minister will take place.