Irish Republican News · January 26, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Feuding erupts in north Belfast

An all-out feud is threatened between rival factions of unionist paramilitaries in north Belfast following a series of attacks on taxis in the area.

On Monday night the UVF was blamed for attacks on vehicles belonging to a taxi firm partly owned by west Belfast loyalist Jackie Mahood. Shootings and assaults were also reported.

Earlier that evening, PSNI police were attacked with petrol bombs during searches in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast.

The violence has been linked to tensions between the UVF and the breakaway LVF in the area. Mahood has been identified with exiled paramilitary boss Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, who is supported by the LVF.

Adair said that he would not be getting involved in the feud following his release from prison and would not returning to Ireland.

“There has been a lot of media talk that I am going to go back and get involved in what is going on to settle old scores,” Adair said from his home in Bolton.

“All this talk that I am going back to Northern Ireland this week is rubbish,” he said.

Adair’s support for the LVF led to his expulsion from the mainstream UDA and a purge of his supporters from their west Belfast base on the Shankill Road. Adair has since moved his family to Bolton, near Manchester in northern England.

Tensions between the rival gangs have continued for more than eight years. Seven people died as the feud ranged over Belfast.

In 1997 Mr Mahood was shot twice in the head by UVF gunmen at his headquarters in the upper Shankill, and he was the victim of another murder bid in 2000.

His brother Bobby was shot dead as he sat in a car with UDA man Jackie Coulter in the same year.

Mr Mahood said a driver had suffered a fractured cheekbone, while eight of his cars were hijacked and burned, and called on government and politicians to address the problem of the UVF.

“If republicans had done this, the politicians would be shouting about it.”

David Ervine from the UVF-aligned PUP (Progressive Unionist Party) said yesterday he did not know who had been responsible.

“I have sympathy for any man losing his business but none for Mr Mahood. I have great sympathy for the individual drivers,” he said.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News