Stephen Farry stated: “This is a welcome but long overdue action. At this time, we must remember the victims of UDA violence. There was never any legitimacy for the actions of the UDA. They were never the defenders of anyone, but terrorists.
“The value of the eventual firm deadline for the end of the decommissioning regime with the resultant full range of legal sanctions against those in possession of weapons has been clearly demonstrated.
“Over the coming weeks, the community will be wary of any suggestions of financial rewards for decommissioning emerging.
“It should not be overlooked that the UDA remains a considerable presence in many communities, exercising social control, and seeking to act as gatekeepers with statutory bodies.”