Militant protestant leaders launched what they called a new 'United Loyalist Action Group' on Wednesday (21 March) to fight Britain's plans for sweeping reforms of Government in Northern Ireland.
GV TILT DOWN Stormont Castle
GV Leaders talk to press
SV Paisley speaking
SV William Craig answering reporter's question
PAISLEY: "I want to make it clear as far as I am concerned, and of course, the members of the Unionist Party would be better answering this than me, for I'm not in the Unionist Party...but as far as I am concerned, we today in this meeting are United on one thing, that we're going to see in Northern Ireland. And if anybody else wants to divide the Loyalist people and go back on their pledge at word for these principles were already accepted by Mr. Barker that they want to go back on their word, we will not be going back."
PAISLEY: "This is a coming together of all people interested in having the people of Northern Ireland having proper citizenship. By the conditions of this paper, we want to be full citizens of the United Kingdom."
REPORTER: "Sir, a major concern is whether this sort of United Front would result in street violence. What is your feeling about this possibility?"
CRAIG: "If there is any street violence it will not arise out of actions of the United Front. It will be because of the instability created by others. I would hope that our positive lead and our positive campaign for action will give the people feelings of confidence that there is an organisation capable of defending Ulster's vital interests."
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Background: Militant protestant leaders launched what they called a new 'United Loyalist Action Group' on Wednesday (21 March) to fight Britain's plans for sweeping reforms of Government in Northern Ireland.
They met for four hours in Belfast to work out a common line, and representatives of both political and para-military Protestant groups rejected the proposals set out in Tuesday's (20 March) British Government White Paper (official document). They said it was completely unacceptable to the people of Northern Ireland.
The two men who called the meeting were reverend Ian Paisley and Captain Laurence Orr of the former ruling unionist Party. They said they planned to use all democratic means to torpedo the White Paper.
Also at the meeting was Mr. William Craig, the former Northern Ireland Home Affairs Minister, and chairman of the Protestant Vanguard Movement. He told newsmen that while the parliamentary battle was being waged, appropriate backing-up action would be taken on the ground in Northern Ireland. He did not elaborate.
The following is a transcript of the brief news conference with Mr. Paisley and Mr. Craig.