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Loyalist paramilitary groups say that criminals have no place in their organisations

The groups have also recommitted themselves to the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.

File photo of a loyalist mural.
File photo of a loyalist mural.
Image: Getty Images

THE THREE MAIN loyalist organisations in the North – the UDA, the UVF and Red Hand Commando – have condemned criminality in their community.

The groups have also recommitted themselves to the principles of the Good Friday Agreement at a joint press briefing today.

The groups say that any criminal activity will put members outside of them.

The move was welcomed by the PSNI, whose Chief Constable George Hamilton said:

“I welcome the explicit commitment to peace and the Rule of Law in today’s statement. I would also acknowledge the hard work of those in progressive loyalism and encourage them to continue their efforts to completely remove illegal paramilitary organisations from our communities.

“20 years on from the Peace Agreement it is disappointing that we are still in a place where there are statements about paramilitary violence and criminality.

“Our communities do not want to live in fear of violence. The Loyalist Community Council must support people in giving information to the police.

“There are no grey areas when it comes to the rule of law.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the commitment contrasted to Gerry Adams’ comments to a German newspaper at the weekend. Adams had said violence can be a legitimate means to an end “in given circumstances”. He added the circumstances in the North during The Troubles were “that people were being denied their rights”.

Foster said:

““I welcome the Combined Loyalist Statement which opposes and condemns all forms of criminality. It stands in stark contrast to Gerry Adams’ latest justification for violence.

“It is time for those who use criminality, to get off the backs of their communities. Their objectives are not political but rather power and profit. I support the police in putting them out of business and behind bars once and for all.

“We have and will continue to help those who want to transition into politics. Violence has no place in our society.”

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