Ms Foster stated politicians ought to keep away from “cant” after former schooling minister Mr O’Dowd criticised her for lately assembly the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) – which represents the Ulster Volunteer Drive, Ulster Defence Affiliation and Purple Hand Commando – to debate loyalist/unionist opposition to the protocol and checks on some items transferring from Britain to Northern Eire.
Mr O’Dowd stated the Northern Government was engaged in makes an attempt to eradicate paramilitarism. “Do you not suppose the truth that you met with representatives of those gangs which might be actively concerned now in criminality, drug dealing and homicide undermines the message from the Government?” he requested Ms Foster.
Ms Foster replied that she held no such view because the LCC representatives she met have been dedicated to “peaceable and democratic” technique of advancing their beliefs.
“I discover it astounding to listen to criticism from Sinn Féin when the [IRA] military council remains to be in existence. That isn’t my evaluation, that’s the evaluation of the chief constable of the PSNI [Simon Byrne],” she added.
“It is vitally onerous to take criticism from sources that ought to know higher. What we need to do is to encourage everyone to interact in peaceable and constitutional politics . . . It truly is astounding to listen to members of Sinn Féin come out and criticise this get together which has all the time condemned violence of any supply,” she continued.
Mr O’Dowd responded that Ms Foster can be “conscious that this isn’t the primary event that political unionism has sought frequent trigger with armed loyalist teams. These teams are actively concerned right this moment in crimes largely towards the communities which the DUP represents and unionism represents. You sat down with them not in search of them to go away, you sat down with them in search of frequent trigger in your opposition towards the protocol. Do you not imagine that was a mistake?”
Ms Foster stated Mr O’Dowd didn’t know what she had stated to the communities council.
“I’ve all the time been very clear with members of paramilitary organisations, from wherever they arrive from, that they need to stop and desist from their criminality,” stated the First Minister.
Ms Foster requested Mr O’Dowd was he suggesting that the Northern Government ought to transfer away from the “communities in transition” programme that it was operating and which was doing excellent work in loyalist and republican areas.
“Let’s have much less of the cant and hypocrisy on this home and let’s have some realism,” she added.