Irish Republican News · August 3, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Loyalists kill, maim, burn, bomb
Loyalists kill, maim, burn, bomb

A third man has been murdered in Belfast in the latest upsurge in the feud between unionist paramilitary groups as a wave of sectarian attacks continues.

Stephen Paul, who is reported to have connections with the small Loyalist Volunteer Force, was shot dead on Saturday in north Belfast by the larger Ulster Volunteer Force. Another man was injured in the incident, but he is not thought to be in danger.

He had survived a previous attempt on his life in 1999 when he was seriously injured. His uncle, William Paul, was also shot dead in 1998, in Bangor. He, like his nephew, is understood to have been involved in drug dealing.

The latest murder victim had a substantial criminal record and had served jail terms for serious assaults on his partner.

British Secretary of State Peter Hain denounced the latest killing as “gangsterism masquerading as loyalism”.

He said yesterday he believed the unionist groups were “not planning an equivalent statement [to the IRA]”. He told Irish television: “But I think they ought to because some of the things that have been happening in unionist and loyalist communities really are an outrage. They are intolerable.

“I think it’s now up to the loyalist groups, especially the Ulster Volunteer Force, to do, with the drift of history and the inevitable future that they face, and comply with disarming, and shutting down their activities and stop this tit-for-tat grisly murder feud that is going on all the time.”

Progressive Unionist leader David Ervine has already stressed that his party, which has UVF links, is powerless to intervene because it has “no influence whatsoever” over those directly involved.

The latest murder follows a week of rising tension over the turf war between rival unionist gangs, including a British-backed mass eviction of LVF supporters in east Belfast.

Watched over by British troops and police, several hundred men and teenagers took to the streets of the area to ensure that LVF associates evicted from their homes did not return.

Nationalists fear the unionist feud is spiralling out of control and could result in a further increase in sectarian attacks on Catholics.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey yesterday said the UVF was ignoring requests to negotiate an end to the current feud.

“This was another appalling murder. But it has appeared for some time the UVF will not be budged. They see a certain parallel on what they are engaged in now and what the UDA did with Johnny Adair’s faction in 2003. Their view is: ‘Let’s get them out of the way.’

“I and others have appealed for mediation, and I know there have been attempts at that but those initial contacts have had a negative response from the UVF,” said the Belfast East assembly member.

Mr Empey said the days of gunmen on the streets and of masked gangs driving people out of housing estates in the North had to end.

“The irony is, at a time when republicans are ostensibly making moves towards disarmament, the loyalists are using weapons in a feud,” he said.

“They must realise the irony in that and how that must make them look. We know after all these years that going around murdering people does not build the society that we all aspire to live in.”

An attack in Ballymena in which a device exploded at the home of a couple and their three children is thought to be linked to the loyalist feud. The couple and their three sons escaped without injury when the device went off at about 4am on Monday morning.

SECTARIAN ATTACKS

A Catholic woman and her son escaped with their lives after an arson attack on their County Antrim home on Monday.

Oonagh Doherty and her 25-year-old son Mark were forced to flee their burning home in the predominately unionist village of Ahoghill after a window in their home was broken and flammable liquid poured in and set alight.

Last month, Mrs Doherty’s aunt Kathleen McCaughey quit the Ahoghill home where she had lived for more than 50 years after a series of sectarian attacks carried out over several years.

In north Belfast, a Catholic man almost lost two fingers in a loyalist machete attack. The attack occured in the Ardoyne area in the early hours of the morning.

Two men and one woman emerged from the car before attacking the local man with machetes.

Catholic homes in an interface area of north Belfast were also attacked with breeze blocks and lumps of concrete attack by loyalist youths.

The attackers gained entry to Hillview Enterprise Park, an industrial estate off the Crumlin Road, and climbed ladders to throw the missiles at homes in Antigua Street.

Six houses were struck during the terrifying attack, with gutters, roofs and gardens damaged.

In Ballymena, another Catholic church has been paint-bombed. The Immaculate Conception church on Cullybackey’s Ballymena Road was discovered damaged over the weekend.

Wwhite paint was found on Saturday afternoon but it is thought the attack may have been caused at any time over the previous week.

© 2005 Irish Republican News