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Winston Irvine: Loyalist no longer director of west Belfast housing association following calls for removal


Loyalist Winston Irvine. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Loyalist Winston Irvine. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Loyalist Winston Irvine. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Renowned loyalist Winston ‘Winkie’ Irvine has resigned from the board of a west Belfast housing association.

Mr Irvine was a director and board member of The Woodstock and Shankill Community Housing Association (WSCHA), which had a £2.4m turnover last year.

In a statement, WSCHA said that following a board meeting on Monday, “Winston Irvine is no longer a board member of the association nor a director in any of the association’s subsidiaries”. 

"His resignation from all boards was accepted by the meeting,” it continued.

The association said “there is nothing to add other than all regulators have been informed”.

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Mr Irvine is currently on remand in Maghaberry Prison facing UVF guns and ammunition charges.

He is one of two men who were arrested a fortnight ago by police investigating the hoax bomb alert that targeted Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, in north Belfast in March.

Earlier this month, the PSNI seized handguns and more than 200 rounds of ammunition from the boot of his car.

The Ballysillan native is understood to have resigned from WSCHA and its subsidiaries this week. SDLP councillor Carl Whyte had called for his withdrawal.

Mr Whyte’s grandmother Peggy was murdered at the age of 52 in 1984, alongside RUC officer Michael Dawson (22) in a UVF bomb blast outside her home on Belfast's University Street.

Last week Mr Whyte had said that “any individual facing serious firearms and ammunition charges should not hold positions of responsibility such as these, particularly when it comes to important public services like the provision of social housing. 

"Mr Irvine should immediately step aside from the director and trustee positions he holds pending the outcome of the case,” he added. 

Welcoming the news on Wednesday, he said: “It’s absolutely right that Winston Irvine no longer holds these positions of influence given the seriousness of the charges against him. His position was untenable and I welcome the resignations following our calls for action.”

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