Loyalist feud continues
Shankill Assembly member Billy Hutchinson fears a further escalation in the feud between the UVF and UDA. ``I have not seen any sign of people wanting to relent or let up,'' he said. The Progressive Unionist Party representative was speaking after another night of loyalist violence on the Shankill which included a pipe bomb attack on his home.
Shots were fired in the Lower Shankill estate during confrontations between gangs of UDA and UVF members and supporters, many carrying baseball bats and pick axe handles, as they roamed the streets on Tuesday night. Trouble flared after pipe bombs were thrown at the home of Billy Hutchinson, whose party is closely associated with the UVF, and at a local UVF bar.
John White of the Ulster Democratic Party, linked to the UDA, claimed the attacks had only taken place after UVF members had tried to ram Johnny Adair's car as his wife Gina was driving it. He also claimed that the UVF had attempted to stab the widow of the late loyalist Jackie Coulter on Monday and had attacked a 22-year-old with hammers and hatchets.
``The UVF are roaming about trying to pick up anyone they associate with the UDA to do them in,'' claimed White. Earlier in the week, a pipe bomb attack in Coleraine had been linked to loyalist feuding. The device exploded in the front garden of a house in Hartford Park in the Ballysally estate. A shot was also fired but the three occupants, a man and his wife and daughter, escaped injury.
According to figures released by the Housing Executive this week, to date over a hundred families have been driven out of their homes in the Shankill area of Belfast as a result of the ongoing feud between loyalist paramilitary groupings. A further 25 loyalists have been driven from their homes in the lower Old Park area of North Belfast.