The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) has asserted that it remains in existence and has no intention of disbanding while any republican paramilitary threat remains.
As political talks dealing with the issue of paramilitarism continue at Stormont the UDA in south Belfast issued a statement insisting that it “won’t be leaving the stage”.
The warning is contained in the magazine ‘The Loyalist’ which addresses the political fallout from the PSNI chief constable George Hamilton’s assessment that the IRA still exists and some of its members were involved in the murder of Belfast republican Kevin McGuigan.
In 2007 the UDA, using its cover name of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, said it was standing down and putting its weapons beyond use, although the weapons would not be decommissioned. In 2010 it said it had put its weapons “verifiably beyond use”.
Notwithstanding such statements, it is generally accepted the UDA is still in existence and it is heavily involved in drug-dealing and other forms of criminality.