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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2006, 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK
UDA 'needing help' to stand down
UDA flag
The views of UDA members were considered
The Ulster Defence Association is keen to stand down and needs help to achieve it, according to loyalist politicians.

Senior commanders in the paramilitary organisation were among those attending the launch of a document on the organisation's future.

Frankie Gallagher of the Ulster Political Research Group, which gives advice to the UDA, said they believed the "war was over."

He said: "We believe people want to move on, will you help us move on?"

He added: "We are going to say to the rest of civic society and the rest of communities that we don't know how much it will cost, if it costs anything, but what we are saying is that if everybody chips in and helps us, then we can create that environment."

The pamphlet outlining ways of transforming loyalist areas has been published, following a consultation within working class Protestant areas. It includes the views of UDA members.

On Monday, one of the UDA's most notorious units said it wanted to disband, but it wanted the government to give it 8.5m to help the process.

The South East Antrim Brigade of the UDA has been responsible for dozens of murders throughout the Troubles.

It said it now wanted to become "a community development body".

The leadership is backing a new group, Beyond Conflict, "to deal with drugs, paramilitary activity, race relations, interface violence and unemployment".

Nationalist and unionist politicians criticised the announcement.

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