Cllr Tom Campbell stated:
“These men have now pleaded guilty to charges of UVF membership. In Police raids last July explosives, a machine gun, other weapons and substantial quantities of ammunition were uncovered.
“One of the UVF men has also pleaded guilty to possession of ammunition, firearms and explosives and to supplying ammunition charges.
“Concern has already been expressed widely about the wisdom of a linkage with the PUP, given its background. This news should give Ulster Unionists further cause for concern but if there is, such concern it is not evident. No Ulster Unionist has yet made any statement of condemnation or sought to distance the party from this kind of unlawful activity.”
“As a self-styled party of law and order, the association with the UVF and its political wing is unacceptable in a democratic society. With no ceasefire credible or otherwise remotely on the horizon, the Ulster Unionists cannot continue to ignore the activities of the UVF. There is no suggestion on reading the reports of this case that the UVF has put violence behind it.
“In such circumstances they should have no place in any decent democratic
society. I know that the decent people who voted for the party last time
will not be impressed by recent events, including the attempted murder of
Mark Haddock in Newtownabbey.”