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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
Hundreds attend UDA 'discussion'
Hundreds of people attended the meeting in north Belfast
Hundreds of people attended the meeting in north Belfast
About 200 people have attended a meeting in north Belfast to discuss a dispute within the ranks of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Members of the Ulster Political Research Group represented the views of the paramilitary group's leadership.

However, they faced angry questions from the audience made up largely of women at Ballysillan Leisure Centre.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has said the meeting should not have taken place in council property.

The meeting was held in response to a standoff between rival UDA factions in the area and talk of a possible loyalist feud breaking out.

Pastor Jack McKee, who has been involved in the negotiations, said it had been a useful meeting.

However, Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan claimed it amounted to a "UDA rally".

"I would just be curious to know, did this go through the city hall? Who requested this meeting?" she asked.

"Or did they just go ahead and hold this UDA rally in one of the facilities belonging to Belfast City Council?

"Ratepayers need an explanation. It is a leisure centre, keep it for the leisure."

Faction

On Monday, members of the UDA's so-called ruling inner council held talks with representatives of the break-away faction in north Belfast.

Tensions within the UDA are high following a weekend stand-off between rival factions and a public show of strength by its leadership.

Senior figures held talks with members of the organisation in north Belfast, loyal to Ihab and Andre Shoukri.

They were expelled from the organisation last month.

On Friday night in north Belfast, police seized a shotgun, ammunition and petrol bombs following a stand-off between up to 80 members of rival UDA factions.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See a report about the meeting



SEE ALSO
UDA in talks with 'faction group'
31 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland
UDA in talks on internal dispute
30 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland
Weapons seized in UDA 'stand-off'
29 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland
New UDA leadership is appointed
28 Jul 06 |  Northern Ireland
Why UDA expelled 'unlikely loyalists'
21 Jun 06 |  Northern Ireland

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