The South Antrim MLA said: “The news that the UDA is prepared to engage with General de Chastelain is welcome. However it falls far short of the ultimatum given to them from the Social Development Minister. We can all remember how long it took other organisations to move from engagement to actual decommissioning.
“This statement can not be used as a get out clause for the UDA to get their funding and I would again urge Margaret Richie to stick to her deadline.
“I am concerned that the Secretary of State has made a public statement on the UDA’s engagement at this very sensitive time. The issue of the grant was solely a matter for Margaret Richie and the Department of Social Development.
“This unhelpful statement from Mr Woodward suggusts a lack of respect for the devolved institutions in general and the work of Margaret Richie in particular.”