UDP expelled from Ulster peace talks

The Ulster Democratic Party was expelled yesterday from the cross- party talks on Northern Ireland for its links with the killings of Catholics. Colin Brown and David McKittrick examine the latest threat to the peace process.

Gerry Adams last night warned that the expulsion of the Ulster Democratic Party from the cross-party talks over links to the sectarian murders of Catholics in the Province had not defused the crisis facing the peace process.

The UDP, led by Gary McMichael, walked out of the talks before they were expelled, but they could be back within three weeks. Mo Mowlam, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said they would have to show "by word and deed" that they were committed to the peace process. David Andrews, the Irish foreign minister, said ministers and officials would remain in contact with the UDP.

Both governments were reluctant to expel the UDP, fearing it would destabilise the talks process, but their removal became inevitable when the parties gathered at Lancaster House, in London, and united in calling for ministers to uphold the Mitchell principles requiring a renunciation of violence. "You cannot have people murdered and ignore it," Ms Mowlam said. Mr Andrews said the talks would not collapse, pointing out that Mr McMichael had given his commitment to the peace process.

The sombre assessment of many observers in Belfast is that the UDP's departure from the talks may make the UDA readier to resort to violence. The nightmare scenario is that it could in time lead to a breakdown of the ceasefire declared by the UDA and other loyalist groups in 1994.

It has always been an imperfect ceasefire, with more than a dozen killings by various paramilitary groups and mobs during 1997. But it is generally reckoned that the ceasefire and the presence of loyalist representatives at the talks table have had an inhibiting effect on the killers. The authorities will now be watching anxiously for any evidence of an immediate violent backlash from the UDA against yesterday's development.

The UDA killed three Catholics in recent days before declaring last Friday that its bout of killings had ended.

Tony Blair will attend the talks today in an effort to keep up the momentum for peace, which was threatened with being stalled over the spiral of sectarian killings.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test