LCC denounces criticism of Joel Keys after it was revealed he joined the organization two days before the MP grid
The chairman of the Council of Loyalist Communities (LCC) criticized the “defamation” of one of its members following his appearance before a Westminster committee this week.
Fervent Campbell criticized “parts of the media and some politicians” for criticizing 19-year-old Joel Keys.
Mr Keys appeared before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) on Wednesday – just two days after his first meeting with the LCC.
He sparked controversy after telling MPs that violence in response to the Northern Ireland protocol was not ‘off the table’.
Mr. Keys was part of the LCC delegation that testified before NIAC as part of its investigation into the protocol.
Committee chairman Simon Hoare asked LCC representatives about their previous comments on the use of violence.
When asked if he maintains the comments, Mr. Keys replied, “I maintain the comments.
“You know there are certainly certain circumstances where violence is the only tool you have left.
“I don’t know if and when violence will be the answer. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t want to somehow exclude that from the table.
“As soon as you rule out violence completely, you admit that you are unwilling to back up everything you believe in with something really important.”
After criticizing his comments, Mr Campbell yesterday released a statement in which he said Mr Keys and the loyalist community had been “demonized” in response to his comments to MPs.
“Although he was only 19 years old, Joel Keys risked his own safety on Good Friday in an attempt to deter young children from rioting and attacking police in Sandy Row,” Campbell said.
“The LCC felt that her testimony would be useful for NIAC to understand what young loyalist activists think of the Protocol.
“Following the NIAC session, I was contacted by several prominent parliamentarians who congratulated the LCC panel in general, and Joel in particular. It’s a sad reflection on Northern Ireland commentators that they couldn’t be so generous. “
The Council of Loyalist Communities is a coordinating group that represents three banned paramilitary groups: the UVF, the UDA and the Red Hand Commando.
Speaking on the BBC’s Evening Extra on Thursday, Mr Keys revealed his first meeting with the group was on Monday, just two days before appearing before MPs.
“I’ve been interested in politics for a while now. My first meeting with them [the LCC] it was Monday and it was just kind of a memory of what was going to happen on Wednesday, ”he said.
Asked by show host Declan Harvey about the “quick turnaround time”, Mr. Keys replied, “It does”.
“Like I said, I’ve been involved and interested in politics for a few years. While I may be a new face to a lot of people, there are definitely people who have known me for quite some time now, ”he added.
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