Northern Ireland news

Loyalist Communities Council wants Stormont collapsed if protocol isn't removed

David Campbell said Arlene Foster was told she should bring down the executive if the protocol remains in place. Picture by Stephen Davison.

AN UMBRELLA group representing loyalist paramilitary groups believes the DUP should crash the institutions if the Irish Sea border remains in place.

The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), which purports to represent the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando, spelled out its stance at a meeting with the DUP leadership last month.

The meeting came before the LLC sent a letter to Boris Johnson and Micheál Martin withdrawing support for the Good Friday Agreement.

The proscribed loyalist paramilitary groups are said to be unhappy with the protocol that has led to checks on goods arriving in the north from Britain.

LCC spokesman David Campbell, a former chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party, said the group had told DUP leader Arlene Foster and her colleagues that she should bring down the Stormont executive if the protocol remains in place.

"We make no secret of the fact that we see this ending in the bringing down of Northern Ireland Executive," Mr Campbell told the Sunday Independent.

"Arlene Foster was left under no illusion that this is something she would have to take responsibility for."

He said the DUP leader responded by saying such a move "had to be clearly within the DUP's thinking" but that now "would not be the time to do that".

"That would be if and when all other avenues were explored and exhausted and if there was still a reluctance in London, Dublin and Brussels to change the protocol," Mr Campbell said, reflecting the first minister's response.

The prime minister told The Irish News earlier this month that he had not seen the loyalist umbrella group's letter withdrawing support for the Good Friday Agreement.

"I haven't personally seen the letters but I'm sure the relevant people will have received them and will be responding to them," Mr Johnson said.

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Northern Ireland news