Category: Archive

Anti-pact loyalists said to be planning attacks

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST — Anti-agreement loyalists are believed to be discussing setting up a new umbrella group to freeze out the UVF in preparation for a renewed onslaught on nationalists.

The plans are being openly discussed in loyalist circles, particularly on the Shankill Road, where relations between the UVF and other loyalists have deteriorated.

Death threats between the two sides are "flying about like confetti," said a source, with at least one threat against a high-profile figure being taken "extremely seriously."

The plans are for the remnants of the UDA, the LVF, Orange Volunteers and Red Hand Defenders to form an umbrella group, along the lines of the old Combined Loyalist Military Command, which called the loyalist cease-fire in October 1994.

Relations between the UVF and other group have deteriorated for political reasons (the UVF is more pro-agreement than the other groups) as well as for personal ones.

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Last week, the UVF was pressured to threaten to end its cease-fire if the two governments attempt to impose solution and should a deal on decommissioning between the pro-agreement parties fail to emerge.

Statements by leading PUP figures in the wake of the recent murder of ex-Red Hand Commando Frankie Currie poisoned the waters. Senior UVF figures were incensed at UDA men pointing the finger in their direction.

The claim of responsibility for the murder of Rosemary Nelson on March 15th from the Red Hand Defenders spoke of "more to come." Some reports say the bombing was planned and carried out by UDA men from the Shankill Road.

There were more loyalist attacks last week, with a bomb attack on the Catholic-owned Derryhirk Inn at Aghagallon about four miles north of Lurgan on Wednesday, March 24. Patsy Mulholland, who runs the bar, said the explosion could be heard for miles.

The day before, the Orange Volunteers claimed a bombing in south County Down that slightly injured a Catholic workman. It exploded at a scrap yard in Castlewellan.

On Thursday, March 25, an explosive device was found on the window ledge of a house in Randalstown, Co. Antrim. It’s understood it have contained shrapnel such as coins, nuts and bolts. Sinn Fein said it was the work of loyalists.

Man acquitted in Hamill death

Meanwhile, a Portadown man has been acquitted at Belfast Criminal Court of the sectarian murder of Catholic father of three Robert Hamill. He was, however, found guilty of affray and sentenced to four years in jail.

In court, Paul Hobson, 21, had been identified by an RUC officer standing over Hamill in a threatening hostile manner. Lord Justice McCollum said it had not been established, however, beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had been involved in the fatal attack.

Hamill was kicked to death in Portadown as he returned home from a dance in April 1997. After the verdict, the Hamill family were led away to a private room and emerged later to say they were deeply disappointed.

They are considering a civil action against the four RUC officers they claim had refused to come to Hamill’s assistance during the assault.

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