Aontú Deputy Leader & Cllr for Mid Ulster, Denise Mullen, has sharply criticised the shameful actions of DUP Leader Arlene Foster in meeting Loyalist Paramilitaries, as Loyalist Politicians drum up tension and fears to achieve their own political ends.

Cllr Mullen:

“It is an absolute disgrace that the DUP Leader met with Loyalist paramilitaries in her campaign to oppose the Northern Protocol. This type of access for criminal organisations is extraordinary in a western democracy. In the south they suffer from Golden Circles. In the north we still suffer from Orange Circles where Loyalist Paramilitaries, which should not exist, have massive access to power”.

“The message being sent is clear: the DUP will bang the drums of Loyalist violence for their own political benefit. The DUP have opposed every peace agreement in the North, and have rejected every measure to achieve the Brexit they voted for – bar a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. This obstructionist brand of politics backed up by violence subverts our democracy and the preservation of peace on our island.”

“Only a few weeks ago, Ian Paisley Jr justified violent threats and targeting of EU port officials by violent Unionist paramilitaries. Last week Sammy Wilson threatened loyalist violence if DUP demands were not met. This week, the DUP Leader Arlene Foster, DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, and MP Gavin Robinson met with loyalist paramilitaries to discuss ‘opposition’ to the Protocol”.

“In my experience, loyalist paramilitaries know only one way to oppose anything – Ratchet up tensions which often ends up in sectarian violence. The DUP must abandon their courtship of paramilitary violence and their ‘at all costs’ opposition to the Protocol negotiated to facilitate their Brexit. This is not how Democratic parties should act.”