Newtownabbey Councillor Tom Campbell said: “The government classified the UVF and UDA as voluntary organizations in a document and, by their actions they have proved that they treat them like one. They even fund these despicable organizations.
“This massive blunder is yet another kick in the teeth for victims of the troubles.
“The SDLP rightly criticized the Department of Education for this deplorable debacle and I hope that their party remembers this when Margaret Ritchie takes up the post of Minister for Social Development – the department which has handed out cash to loyalist paramilitaries.
“Margaret Ritchie must stop cash payments to loyalist paramilitaries and must try to claw back those already made. They have the opportunity to send out a strong message on this and they must do so.
“Local taxpayers are disgusted to that the government is using their money to pay the UDA to stop its campaign of terror. This must be stopped and after 8 May, the Minister for Social Development can do this.”