Northern Ireland news

LCC chairman accuses Doug Beattie of 'anti-loyalist rhetoric'

Loyalist Community Council spokesman David Campbell. Picture by Stephen Davison

THE CHAIR of the group purporting to represent elements of the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando has criticised the "anti-loyalist rhetoric" of Ulster Unionist leadership contender Doug Beattie, likening his remarks to statements by Alliance and Sinn Féin.

David Campbell, a former chairman of the UUP who now chairs the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), said he was "astonished" by comments the Upper Bann MLA made about engagement with paramilitary groups.

Mr Beattie said paramilitaries were still very active but likened them to "gangsters", describing them as "drug dealers, thieves and the absolute dregs of our society".

Mr Campbell accused the UUP leadership contender of "denigrating" the LCC.

He said the group had transformed loyalist organisations and promoted the need for economic and educational initiatives in loyalist communities.

"How will he [Doug Beattie] explain to the party membership his strategy for regaining the trust of the wider unionist electorate when he begins his campaign by alienating at least a third of that electorate?" Mr Campbell said

"I would ask Mr Beattie to reflect on his comments and to reach out to support loyalist unionists rather than parrot the anti-loyalist rhetoric we have come to expect from Alliance and Sinn Féin."

UUP leadership contender Doug Beattie. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

 

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