THE Progressive Unionist Party has denied claims that UVF members were responsible for orchestrating the violence outside Mossley Mill on Friday night (December 7).
Phil Hamilton, the PUP’s East Antrim representative, was responding to claims by South Antrim MLA Paul Girvan that known paramilitaries were behind the trouble.
The DUP man, who was among around 200 guests at the Mayor’s Christmas dinner, was stoned when he went out to the gates of the council offices to try to reason with the rioters.
“I have spoken to people who were on the ground on Friday night and to local residents and I am 100 per cent confident that the UVF and Red Hand Commando were not involved,” Mr Hamilton told the Times.
“If he (Paul Girvan) has information about who was responsible for the violence then he as a public representative should pass that information on to the police so that they can investigate his claims properly.”
While the PUP man admitted that the violence was orchestrated, he declined to say who he believed was responsible.
One local resident who lives opposite the Mill condemned the violence, claiming that elements from outside the area were responsible for the civil unrest.
The man, who didn’t want to be named, said: “People have a right to protest, but this was unjustified and uncalled for. There was no need for people from outside the area to come here and wreck all round them and destroy our community.”
Turning to the violence which erupted at O’Neill Road on Friday night, Mr Hamilton claimed that “a young element intent on causing trouble” were responsible. He thanked local community workers and clergy who worked to quell the trouble.
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