IN FULL: Loyalist group with paramilitary links denies UDA / UVF riot role

A forum which has brought together figures with links to loyalist paramilitarism has denied that their groups are involved in the street disorder which has flared across the Province for over a week.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 12:20 pm
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 8/4/2021: Nationalist rioters are doused by the PSNI's water cannon during fighting on the Springfield Road, Belfast on Thursday night. Whilst much of the rioting has been loyalist in nature, in recent nights republican youths in interface areas have been getting involved more heavily.

The Loyalist Communities Council – which includes members of the UPRG (linked to the UDA) and the PUP (linked to the UVF), as well as at least one individual with past ties to the Red Hand Commando – released the statement at noon today.

The group’s spokesman is David Campbell, a former chirman of the UUP who has no paramilitary ties himself whatsoever – however, today’s statement was not issued in any one individual’s name.

Whilst much of the rioting has been loyalist in nature, in recent nights republican youths in interface areas have been getting involved more heavily.

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It read in full below:

“The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) can confirm that none of their associated groups have been involved either directly or indirectly in the violence witnessed in recent days.

“The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right but we have made it clear in all our public statements that any actions taken by the Loyalist community should be entirely peaceful.

“We again place on record our absolute determination to remove the hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of our country that has been imposed on us by the NI Protocol.

“We have repeatedly urged HM Government, political leaders and Institutions to take seriously our warnings of the dangerous consequences of imposing this hard border on us and the need for earnest dialogue to resolve matters.

“We reiterate that message now.

“To date there has been a spectacular collective failure to understand properly the scale and nature of Unionist and Loyalist anger. Indeed there is a complete failure to understand Loyalists as people and equal citizens.

“The LCC notes that the Prime Minister has called for dialogue to resolve political problems.

“The dialogue recommended by the Prime Minister must recognise that the basis on which the Irish government promoted their Brexit settlement was disingenuous and wrong, and breached the core safeguards and guarantees contained within the Belfast Agreement.

“For Irish government ministers to use the threat of resumed violence as a negotiating tool was unforgiveable.

“A new Protocol must be negotiated that restores those key Agreement afeguards. In practice this means no hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, and no hard border on this island.

“In the coming days we urge all Unionists and Loyalists to remain vigilant to the dangers of fake and anonymous social media accounts, and we urge our people not to get drawn into violent confrontations.

“The LCC is seeking an end to all violence and to solve the underlying concerns of the Loyalist and Unionist communities whether that is due to the imposition of the Protocol, or the clear feelings of inequality in how our communities are policed and how justice is administered.

“We are determined to ensure that these serious and legitimate political concerns felt across Unionism and Loyalism are not allowed to be framed in terms of criminality.”

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