Irish Republican News · September 3, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: UDA threats widen
UDA threats widen
udaletter.jpg

The UDA has stepped up a campaign of intimidation in the north Antrim, sending threatening letters to Rasharkin residents and expanding a list of targets in nearby Coleraine.

A highly contentious parade was forced through the village of Rasharkin in north County Antrim two weeks ago, with militant loyalist bands provocatively waving unionist paramilitary flags.

In one letter to a Rasharkin resident this week, the target was told that his “name has been put into the UDA book” and the letter was signed ‘UDA’.

The handwritten letters said that if there had been “any big trouble” at the band parade the “so-called protesters would have needed stretchers to take them to the Causeway Hospital”.

They also warn the men their names will be held “in record”.

The letters come in the wake of Catholics being forced to leave their homes in nearby Ballymoney after being attacked by the UDA.

Local Sinn Fein representative Daithi McKay, who received one of the letters, said they were part of a wider campaign.

“Last month we saw UDA-linked bands marching through the village at the invitation of the Ballymaconnolly band and now in the wake of residents’ opposition to that loyalist paramilitary display we are seeing an attempt by loyalists to intimidate this small rural community.

“These threats will not deter me or those opposed to loyalist intimidation in Rasharkin.

“The UDA is actively targeting Catholics in this area and there is considerable anger amongst local people that DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has ruled out UDA involvement.

“The political cover that the DUP has provided for the UDA when they have marched through Catholic areas and when they have targeted Catholic families in the North Antrim/East Derry area over the past number of months will surprise no-one.

“It is crystal clear that the DUP still have links to loyalist paramilitaries which they have yet to sever.”

The summer months have been marred with a series of sectarian attacks on homes and property in the north Antrim area.

Rasharkin resident Francis McWilliams received one of the letters and said he believed he had been singled out because a newspaper published a letter he had written criticising the conduct of both police and bands at the parade.

The 50-year-old said he had been among the protesters at the parade.

“I’ve been a republican for 40-odd years and ideal threats don’t scare me. I won’t be scared by the UDA.

“If they want to come and talk to me I’ll do that but I won’t be intimidated by them.”

The letter to Mr McWilliams was delivered to a cafe where he meets friends once a week.

COLERAINE

Meanwhile, a High Court hearing was told on Tuesday that 24 people are now under loyalist death threats following the mob killing of Catholic community worker Kevin McDaid and the near-fatal assault on another Catholic man, Damien Fleming.

Sinn Fein East Derry representative Francie Brolly said that people in the town need to be able to live free from the fear of sectarian violence and threat.

“There is a clear attempt to pervert the course of justice by making people too afraid to testify against these Loyalist criminals and gangsters.

“The PSNI and legal system need to act to make sure that those responsible for the brutal attack on Kevin McDaid and Damien Fleming are brought before the courts and that justice is served.”

© 2009 Irish Republican News