Belfast Telegraph

UVF 'watching Brexit developments'

Jamie Bryson spoke on Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show yesterday
Jamie Bryson spoke on Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show yesterday

By Staff Reporter

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson has said that he believes the UVF will be monitoring Brexit developments "very closely".

Mr Bryson was speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show yesterday morning.

The blogger was appearing on the show to discuss Belfast City Council's proposals to remove paramilitary flags from the city.

Councillors met yesterday to discuss the issue after the local authority voted to take a case against Stormont's Department for Infrastructure over its refusal to remove paramilitary flags from its property.

However, no legal action was taken and the matter was referred to the council's strategic policy and resources committee for further discussion.

As the conversation moved on Mr Bryson warned that there was anger among the unionist and loyalist community over Brexit and said he believed any deal that weakens the position of Northern Ireland in the UK would lead to mass protests and potentially violence.

However, PUP councillor Dr John Kyle said while there are concerns around Brexit in the community, he did not recognise the strength of feeling described by the former flag protester.

Mr Bryson was speaking after speculation the DUP is ready to accept a specific Northern Ireland-only solution to the issues holding up a Brexit deal.

He said that unionists would strongly resist anything that weakened Northern Ireland's place in the UK.

Mr Bryson gave his view on what would happen if a Brexit deal was agreed which "put the Union at risk".

"I think the people would take to the streets, hopefully in peaceful and law-abiding protests, but we all live in the real world and quite often those protests can spill over and I think once that genie gets out of the bottle it will be difficult to put it back in," the loyalist blogger said. 

"I would presume that the UVF will be watching very closely what is going on at this point in time and I would say that they will be watching for anything that weakens the union and the constitutional position."

Mr Bryson stressed that he is not a member of the UVF and does not speak for the organisation.

Dr Kyle said he did not recognise the angry feelings Mr Bryson has described within the unionist and loyalist community.

"You talk about anger, violence and powderkegs.

"Certainly it's not what I'm detecting," the Belfast councillor told the programme.

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