Personally SPEAKING: Portadown Pastor KENNY McCLINTON - LVF Go-Between to the Decommissioning Body - Asks Whether the Formation of the Loyalist Commission by the UDA, UVF, Church and Political Figures Will Be a Truly Positive Development

Article excerpt

Byline: KENNY McCLINTON

I RECENTLY read with interest the article in the News Letter headed 'Terror rivals bury axe for new commission', revealing the formation of the Loyalist Commission.

I have given this news a guarded welcome for a number of reasons which will be obvious to anyone who is aware of the social history and circumstances surrounding the proposed setting up of such a 'commission' of terror groupings.

First of all, the last time Protestants and loyalists saw such a 'commission' type formation it was called the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC), yet this commission consisted not of a full complement of loyalist groupings from all and varied locations of loyalism in Ulster but an exclusive group of organisations which quickly manifested an extremely strange and self-serving set of interests. The first of these vested interests culminated in a serious death-threats on two leading loyalist figures in the Province - the late Billy Wright and Alex Kerr.

Therefore, from the outset, the so-called CLMC became a dangerous threat to loyalism and loyalist unity and that is something that loyalists can not ever permit to happen again.

Soon after the formation of the CLMC, loyalists from all across Ulster began to ask the question: "Just who, exactly, is running it? Is it being run from the major loyalist groupings ostensibly involved, or is it being operated by the British/Irish security services with hidden intents?

During the seven years since the emergence of the CLMC, loyalism has been in tatters. Many loyalists have gone to their graves or been exiled; there have been a number of internecine loyalist feuds; and the Protestant people, and all Roman Catholics loyal to the Union, have suffered innumerable setbacks to our culture, our way of life, our national and political security, our liberties, our reputations;, peace of mind and, for some, life itself. …