A PUP councillor has called for an end to punishment beatings in the Coleraine and Ballymoney areas.
Coleraine councillor Russell Watton was speaking last week after the launch of the Loyalist Communities Council in Belfast .
The body has identified three core themes, educational underachievement, law abiding responses to criminality and loyalist disenfranchisement in the political process, and Watton believes that the Council will benefit communites in this area.
Watton attended the launch, and was involved in some of the discussions about the new body, and he says that it is very clear that Loyalist communities have been left behind.
Speaking to The Times, Watton said: “The second theme about law abiding responses to criminality is very important. Punishment beatings and shootings in this area must stop, but at the same time police have a role to play. They must step up to the mark and rid our streets of these drug dealers.
“I said when I was first elected that this must stop, but it is still happening.”
Watton pointed out that in the estates of Coleraine there is still a very low turn out at election times, and welcomed the news that the Loyalist Council will work with these communities to encourage engagement with political parties.
“When I was first elected I promised to do what I could for the working class people of this area. These areas are being left behind economically and politically, we all have a part to play,” said the PUP man.
Watton also highlighted the issue of education, and the underachievement of Protestant boys in Northern Ireland: “This should not be happening in this day and age. I hope that this new Council will improve the quality of life for Loyalist communities,” he said.