The Castlereagh Councillor stated: “Almost every week we hear about some loyalist faction getting the begging bowl out and demanding a retirement package. Having extorted money from local businesses for years, they are now trying to do the same to the government.
“It is disgraceful that the government has even contemplated handing money over to these groups. The UDA and UVF have tortured loyalist areas for decades with punishment beatings and extortion rackets. Any government funding should be going to helping the loyalist areas that have suffered at the hands of these thugs.
“Why should representatives of loyalist terrorism determine the future of these areas, when most of them cannot even get elected?
“These parties have been rejected time and again at the ballot box. Government should be listening to elected representatives not loyalist figureheads.”
Michael Long concluded: “This funding should be going towards creating jobs for all, not jobs for the boys. The government must listen to the people in loyalist areas. They do not want to see paramilitary groups getting retirement packages. Local people want better schools, improved healthcare, the creation of more jobs and better public transport. These are the areas that any funding must go on.”