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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Dodds' attack is 'out of touch'
Margaret Ritchie
Nigel Dodds says Margaret Ritchie is being hypocritical
Nigel Dodds' 'hypocrisy' attack on Margaret Ritchie is out of step with his own party leader and people in Northern Ireland, Mark Durkan has said.

The SDLP leader said her stand over UDA funding being linked to decommissioning was both "correct and courageous".

"She deserves better from an executive colleague than confused, contradictory backbiting," Mr Durkan said. Mr Dodds said Ms Ritchie's position contrasted with her party's failure to back sanctions against the IRA.

Mr Dodds was speaking on Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme.

The social development minister has said the UDA must start to disarm by 9 October.

If they do not she will cut more than 1m of funding from her department to a project for loyalist areas.


Meanwhile, the UDA leadership has said it may ask General John de Chastelain to brief the social development minister on talks about the organisation's guns.

They want the head of the international decommissioning body to brief Margaret Ritchie and the two governments on the progress of almost two years of talks.

They hope a briefing on the talks would convince the minister that the UDA is serious about addressing the issue of guns - and persuade her not to withdraw the funding.

Ms Ritchie met with UDA leader Jackie McDonald and two of its political representatives on Thursday.

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