Loyalists issue death threats

Ten families in County Antrim have been warned their homes may be targeted in UDA gun attacks within the next week.

A member of a group which acts on behalf of the UDA’s breakaway south east Antrim brigade said PSNI police called at houses in Whitehead and Carrickfergus last night.

John McDowell said the families were told the PSNI believe members of a faction of the mainstream UDA were behind the threats.

Mr McDowell said some of the families had been threatened in the past and criticised the PSNI’s failure to prosecute those behind the threats.

In July, a PSNI man was shot in violence between gangs of rival UDA groups in Carrickfergus’s Castlemara estate.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition has also been warned by the PSNI that he could be attacked.

The coalition, which represents nationalist residents in the ongoing Drumcree march dispute with the Protestant Orange Order, said Breandan Mac Cionnaith was told at the weekend of an imminent death threat.

His colleague Joe Duffy said the coalition had instructed a lawyer to “try and ascertain the source of the PSNI’s information”.

Sinn Féin’s John O’ Dowd has described the death threat as imminent “totally unacceptable” and called for it to be lifted immediately.

“There is only one way to resolve the Garvaghy road dispute and that is through dialogue,” he said. “Use of violence and threats of violence are weapons of the past. I call on those loyalists responsible to immediately end their plans to kill Breandan.”

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