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Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK


Adams blames murder of lawyer on UDA

Rosemary Nelson died when a bomb exploded under her car

The Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has claimed that one of Northern Ireland's leading paramilitary groups was behind the murder of human rights lawyer, Rosemary Nelson.

[ image: Rosemary Nelson was a high profile lawyer in Northern Ireland]
Rosemary Nelson was a high profile lawyer in Northern Ireland
Mr Adams said he was told by senior unionists that the Ulster Defence Association was behind the killing in Lurgan, County Armagh, two months ago.

Mrs Nelson died when a bomb exploded under her car.

A prominent lawyer, she had represented the residents of the nationalist Garvaghy Road area, in their efforts to prevent an Orange Order Parade from passing through the district.

At the time the murder was claimed by a loyalist splinter group, calling itself the Red Hand Defenders.

But speaking in Belfast Mr Adams put the blame for Mrs Nelson's death on the UDA.

"Senior members of the unionist leadership have said that to me, " he said.

"That might just be their opinion, but it's a very serious opinion."

'Make information public'

But the Ulster Democratic Party, which has close links with the UDA, dismissed the claims.

Party leader Gary McMichael said:"Gerry Adams appears to have more information than I do.

"If the unionist party has that kind of legitimate information, they should make it public."

The Search for Peace
The UDA, which is one of Northern Ireland's main loyalist paramilitary organisations, is meant to be observing a ceasefire.

The government is under growing pressure to hold an independent investigation into the murder of Mrs Nelson, and that of another lawyer, Pat Finucane.

He was shot dead in his home ten years by loyalist gunmen.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, head of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, has asked Kent Chief Constable David Phillips, 54, to head the inquiry into Mrs Nelson's death.

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