A DUP politician has claimed a terrorist meeting he is alleged to have attended was a flute event.
An anonymous whistleblower told BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme that councillor Wesley Irvine was seen ‘handing out leaflets’ at a UDA meeting earlier this year.
The programme reports the gathering of the paramilitary group’s north Down battalion, held at a community hall in Bangor one month before the General Election, was chaired by commander Dee Stitt.
And the anonymous source alleges that Mr Irvine, who is a former mayor of north Down, was seen at the meeting ‘handing out voter registration forms and DUP election material’.
He said: ‘The first order of business was for Wesley Irvine to run around the room handing out voter registration forms and DUP election material to chants of DUP by Dee Stitt.’
But Mr Irvine strenuously denies having ever attended a UDA meeting.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘As part of an engagement across working-class communities in north Down I attended the band practices of a number of flute bands.
‘This includes the practice you refer to. Booking details for this practice can be confirmed with the council.
‘The sole purpose of this was to encourage electoral registration. I did not hand out DUP election material at this band practice.
‘If BBC Spotlight has evidence of illegality by anyone at that band practice I will support Stephen Dempster in giving that evidence to the police.
‘At no point have I ever attended any UDA meeting. There is no place for any paramilitary organisation in our society and I condemn any illegal activity.
‘There is no place for any paramilitary organisation in our society and anyone involved in illegal activity must face the full weight of the law.’
Speaking to the BBC, the whistleblower said there were no women present during the meeting, who had all left after the youth club finished.
‘Another thing was that everyone had to leave their phones outside on the chair,’ he added.
The illegal paramilitary organisation was responsible for hundreds of deaths during the Troubles and is on a list of the Home Office’s proscribed terrorist organisations.
An electoral commission spokesperson told the programme: ‘In circumstances where an illegal gathering has taken place this would be a matter for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to consider.’
There is no suggestion Mr Irvine is involved with the group.
A spokesperson for the DUP said: ‘The DUP does not support or endorse paramilitary activity of any kind. There is no place for any paramilitary organisation in our society.
‘Anyone involved in illegal activity must face the full weight of the law. People with such information should bring it to the police.
‘We will work with those who leave paramilitary activity behind and want to build a better Northern Ireland.’