03 April 2006

Loyalist group ousts its chairman


Reverend Mervyn Gibson said he was surprised at the move

Presbyterian minister Reverend Mervyn Gibson has been ousted as chairman of the Loyalist Commission.

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

Mr Gibson was asked to stand down at a meeting of the commission on Monday.

It is understood some were concerned about a NIO initiative he was involved in which would include the loyal orders and nationalist residents groups.

One source told the BBC that it was thought Mr Gibson had "taken on too much, too soon".

However, Mr Gibson said there was a "difference of interpretation" of what he was trying to do.

Mr Gibson said he was surprised at being asked to stand down but had "no hesitation" in agreeing to leave.

He said that though he was no longer a member, he wished the commission well.

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