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Archbishop either ill-briefed or naive to sit down with loyalist grouping still steeped in criminality

Under the headline 'Archbishop talks peace building with loyalist body' (News, May 21), the Belfast Telegraph reported the meeting of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Justin Welby with members of the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), which is backed by the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando, to discuss the "work of the LCC, in particular its role in committing former loyalist paramilitary groups to the peace process and opposing all forms of criminality".

We know from almost daily media and police reports that, far from opposing all forms of criminality, the UDA and UVF are as active today in organised crime, violence, drug-dealing and racketeering as they have ever been.

Most of this is perpetrated at the expense of the communities in which they operate, ruining lives with the drugs they peddle. At the ballot box, political parties aligned to these groups are consistently rejected. Their 'mandate' exists solely at the end of a gun and by the use of violence and intimidation.

You have to wonder, in meeting the LCC representatives, was the Archbishop so ill-briefed (or so naive) as to fall for their patter when the dogs in the street here know the truth?

Also, will the Archbishop be so forthcoming as to invite victims of these paramilitary groups, both present and past, to Lambeth Palace for a bite of lunch, so that he can at least get a balanced view before dispensing his pastoral wisdom on peace-building in our society?


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