Irish Republican News · March 28, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Loyalist attacks go unchecked in Antrim
Loyalist attacks go unchecked in Antrim

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A single gang of unionist paramilitaries is thought to be behind a murder and a spate of shooting and beatings across the North Antrim and Coleraine areas.

The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) has been blamed for a dozen such attacks, including the murder of father-of-five Brian McIlhagga in January.

In the latest incident this week, a man in his early 20s was shot in the legs and arms by four masked men who had forced their way into a house in Coleraine.

SDLP assembly member John Dallat said there had been as many as 12 UDA attacks in the area in recent months and local intelligence pointed to a power struggle within the paramilitary group. “There are a number of budding godfathers who are seeking to be top dog,” he said.

“They have been involved in murder, injury and in exiling people from the area. Action is needed now before we have another Greysteel or Castlerock atrocity,” he said.

There have been four similar attacks over the past three months.

The worst was in Ballymoney in January, when Brian McIlhagga, a plasterer who was originally from Ballymena, was dragged out of the house in a quiet cul-de-sac, beaten and shot once in the leg in the front garden.

Despite frantic resuscitation efforts by neighbours, he died. A 32-year-old woman who was also in the house was battered and forced to lie on the kitchen floor while the shooting took place.

A loyalist shooting of a 47-year-old grandmother in south Antrim is being blamed on another UDA gang. The woman was shot in both legs in the attack outside her own home in the loyalist Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey on the outskirts of north Belfast on Sunday evening. The woman attempted to flee but was shot outside. She suffered gunshot wounds in both legs.

UVF GEARING UP

Meanwhile, a second unionist paramilitary grouping, the UVF, is reported to be planning a wave of attacks and intimidation against Catholics in the run-up to this year’s marching season.

Social housing schemes in Belfast and student accommodation in particular are to be targeted. The UVF have reportedly warned they will not allow homes to be granted to foreign nationals or anyone they perceive to be Catholic.

A social housing development in Carryduff in the Belfast commuter belt has also been “claimed” by loyalists. UVF flags and signs were erected and an entire section of railings were daubed in red white and blue paint.

The site was used as the location for the annual loyalist July bonfire last summer.

The PSNI has said they will not be acting to remove the flags and logos from the building site, saying they have not received any complaints over the flags.

© 2015 Irish Republican News