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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 20:19 GMT
Loyalist meeting 'constructive'
UPRG delegation
Members of the UPRG delegation arrive at Stormont
Talks between government ministers and loyalists have been described as "frank and constructive", by the Ulster Political Research Group.

Secretary of State Paul Murphy met a delegation, which included UPRG members and three UDA leaders at Stormont.

The UPRG's Frankie Gallagher said they told the government that loyalists felt left behind by the peace process.

He said discussions centred on where loyalism would like to be in five to 10 years, but did not go into details.

After the meeting, Mr Murphy said: "There have been two very useful and constructive meetings at which there was a serious discussion on a wide range of issues of concern to the loyalist community and of the process by which they could be addressed.

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"It was also made clear that paramilitary activity had to end and that the issue of decommissioning must be dealt with.

"We agreed to maintain contact and continue the dialogue."

The UPRG gives political analysis to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Three of its most senior leaders were at the talks: Andre Shoukri and Jackie McDonald from Belfast and Billy McFarlane from Londonderry.

Security Minister Ian Pearson also took part in the talks.

On Monday, the secretary of state met a delegation from the Progressive Unionist Party, which has links to the paramilitary UVF.

The UDA is a "specified" organisation, meaning that its ceasefire is not recognised because of the level of violent activity still being carried out by its members.

Last week, the Independent Monitoring Commission handed over its latest report on continuing republican and loyalist paramilitary activity to the British and Irish governments.




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BBC NI's Brian Rowan:
"This dialogue is about trying to re-involve loyalism in the wider peace process"



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