By Brian Rowan
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Loyalist ‘brigadier’ Jackie McDonald and Sinn Fein president Gerry
Adams have met face-to-face for the first time, the Belfast
Telegraph can reveal.
It happened yesterday when Mr Adams came to offer condolences
to the family of loyalist community worker Harry Haggan who
worked on the Suffolk-Lenadoon interface in Belfast.
Mr Haggan, a former prisoner with UDA links, died on Friday. His
funeral takes place today, with some republicans expected to
Mr Adams first called his widow Margaret and then asked to visit
the family home.
The loyalist and republican leaders met on the peaceline and
arrived at the house together.
They had spoken previously on the telephone, but had never met.
“I’ve viewed him from a distance,” the UDA leader told the Belfast
“He didn’t seem to be the type of person you could get close to.
“But today (Tuesday) I thanked him for what he did for the family.
It was a wonderful gesture.”
He described Mr Haggan as a man who had helped create a better
atmosphere for the two communities on the Suffolk-Lenadoon
interface — dealing with difficult issues such as flags and
And Mr McDonald said it was only when the west Belfast MP visited
the family home that they “realised the work that Harry was
“He praised Harry for his work and his courage,” the loyalist
“And when Gerry told them this was the first time he and I had
met, there was an even greater sense of pride.
“They couldn’t believe Harry’s death had brought us into the
“He left the family with a great sense of pride.”
Three years ago Adams stepped into the loyalist community to
attend the funeral of political leader David Ervine — just weeks
before the historic Stormont agreement between Sinn Fein and
From what I have read, despite Adams approval of violence during the IRA struggle, he has always been one of the few IRA leaders to recognize that at some point they all have to live together and get along...