11 March 2006

DUP's loyalist meeting 'useful'


Peter Robinson said they would consult with the party

The first meeting between two DUP MPs and the chairman of the Loyalist Commission was "useful", the party's deputy leader Peter Robinson has said.

Mr Robinson said he and Nigel Dodds met Reverend Mervyn Gibson to see what the DUP could do to help end loyalist criminality and paramilitary activity.

He would not be drawn on whether the party would go further than meeting the loyalist umbrella body and see the UDA.

He said they wanted to report back to colleagues before giving more details.

"I want to encourage people to end paramilitary and criminal activity," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme.

"Where people are clearly intent on doing that, encouragement will come from us.

"The form of it would be a matter for the party to decide and I wouldn't want to prejudice any decision that they might take."

Earlier this week, the Independent Monitoring Commission said loyalist paramilitaries remained heavily involved in organised crime, although there were signs of a possible readiness to abandon some criminality.

The Loyalist Commission is an umbrella group which includes members of the UVF, Red Hand Commando and the UDA, as well as clergymen and community representatives.

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