UVF row: ‘Ignoring peaceful protests undermines loyalist leaders’ says LCC after Simon Coveney security alert

If peaceful protests and arguments from loyalists are ignored on the NI Protocol, this will undermine leaders who have brought their groups away from violence, the Loyalist Communities Council has warned.

By Philip Bradfield
Sunday, 27th March 2022, 7:39 pm
Updated Sunday, 27th March 2022, 7:41 pm

Former UUP chairman, now chair of the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), David Campbell, was speaking after a security alert on Friday disrupted a speech by Irish Foriegn Minister Simon Coveney in north Belfast.

The PSNI say loyalists are to blame and that the UVF are a prime suspect.

“I do not know who was behind the event on Friday and I would reiterate the guidance from the LCC that all protests should be peaceful and democratic,” Mr Campbell told the News Letter.

Loyalist Communities Council chairman David Campbell. Photo: Pacemaker Press.

“It is a matter for the Police to produce evidence-based judgments rather than speculation.”

He added: “I have been warning for some time that if peaceful protest and the power of rational argument is seen to be ignored and thwarted then it undermines leaders who have brought their organisations away from violence.

“Unfortunately, my warnings have been ignored. Since Lord Frost’s resignation the Secretary of State and the NIO in general has ignored loyalism and refused to meet its representatives.

“The European Commission has refused all engagement and cherry-picks who it interacts with. The Irish Government has continued its dishonest representation of Northern Ireland and its opposition to the NI Protocol. “Indeed, it amazes me why anyone working in the field of reconciliation would have invited Simon Coveney to contribute to any event. He, more than anyone else, has undermined reconciliation and undone twenty-five years of bridge-building yet he thinks he can appear in Northern Ireland at will and no-one will object?

“Well I object, and so do the vast majority of ordinary unionists and loyalists. He, and his government colleagues are not welcome in Northern Ireland until they restore the primacy of the guarantees contained in the Belfast Agreement.”

The LCC is an umbrella organisation made up of representatives from a range of prosecribed terror groups - the UVF, UDA and RHC.

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