Naomi Long stated: “Ulster Unionists are now saying that paramilitarism is not a matter of principle. I wonder if they would care to explain that to people whose lives and communities have been destroyed by the active gangsters with whom they are now directly aligned.
“Having merged with representatives of the UDA in Belfast City Council, they have now merged with representatives of the UVF in the Assembly. They talk hard about Republican paramilitarism, but are completely soft on Loyalist paramilitarism. Not only are they turning a blind eye to mob rule, they are merging with it at every opportunity!
“It is one thing to urge paramilitaries to move on from the past — it is quite another to merge with them when they show no intention of doing so even in the present.
“People will see through this appalling hypocrisy. Our task is to stand up for the rule of law and the legitimate enforcers of law-and-order and to secure stable democracy for Northern Ireland, not place representatives of active paramilitaries at the heart of our Government.”
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