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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 October 2005, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
'Hard decisions' at PUP meeting
PUP leader David Ervine
David Ervine's party is linked to the UVF and Red Hand Commando
The Progressive Unionist Party has said it has made some "hard decisions" following a "wide-ranging" debate at its annual conference.

It was held amid speculation that the party is engaged in a debate about its future. Journalists were not allowed to attend the conference.

It is thought the party is attempting to persuade the UVF to follow the IRA's move to follow a purely political path.

The PUP leadership is now meeting and a further statement is expected.

The party, led by David Ervine, has refused to comment on speculation it could end its links with the UVF if it fails to leave violence behind.

The PUP is also linked to Red Hand Commando.

In July, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain withheld the party's assembly allowances for another year.

The decision followed the latest report from ceasefire watchdog, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).

In September, the IMC blamed the UVF for five murders and 15 attempted murders as part of its feud with the LVF.

Mediation attempts

A special report said the LVF carried out two murder bids, but their violence was mainly a response to UVF attacks.

Its report on the loyalist feud led NI Secretary Peter Hain to declare the UVF ceasefire had broken down.

The IMC said it had noted statements by the Progressive Unionist Party indicating that they could not stop the feud, but said the party could not have it both ways.

They must disassociate themselves from the UVF or accept the consequences, it said.

Meanwhile, a Presbyterian minister, who has been talking to the leaders of the UVF and the LVF, said he was hopeful of a breakthrough in efforts to end the feud.

The Reverend Mervyn Gibson, who sits on the Loyalist Commission, told the BBC's Inside Politics programme on Saturday that attempts to mediate were "still continuing".




SEE ALSO:
PUP criticised over murder vote
02 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland
IMC blames UVF for five murders
22 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland
Feud will get worse says Ervine
23 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
PUP 'has no influence over UVF'
21 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Party is urged to sever UVF link
19 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland


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