Irish Republican News · May 2, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
PSNI goes easy on UDA feud

Charges have been dropped against all 18 unionist paramilitaries arrested in relation to UDA violence in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, despite renewed feuding in the town.

A shotgun was fired at a home in the Castlemara estate in the town on Sunday. Two men had been due to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, but the charges were mysteriouosly withdrawn at the last minute.

A major standoff between the mainstream UDA and its breakaway south-east Antrim gang in the town last summer led to a PSNI man being shot in the back.

The attack was thought to have been an attempt on the life of UDA ‘brigadier’ Jackie McDonald who was in the area at the time.

In the past nine months almost 100 people living in Carrickfergus have received death threats as a result of the feud.

But although 18 paramilitaries have been charged with serious offences since the feuding began, all have now been cleared due to a reputed lack of “available evidence”.

As the bloody feud continued, a British cash handout of over a million pounds to the UDA was withdrawn by the northern Executive only after a massive public outcry.


Now, a new program to kill loyalism with kindness has emerged. Loyalists are controversially being offered cash rewards for not burning the Irish tricolour or effigies of nationalists on their Eleventh Night bonfires.

For four years Belfast City Council has provided funding for bonfire sites across the city. The bonfires are lit on the eve of the annual July 12th marches by the Orange Order, and are openly threatening to nationalists.

Cash awards are now to be given to groups that meet guidelines laid down in a council charter with a view to turning the bonfires into a more “cultural family-orientated event”.

Criteria to achieve the cash incentives include: removal of paramilitary displays and ‘shows of strength’; no burning of the Irish tricolour; no burning of effigies; not collecting material until a designated date; agreeing not to burn highly toxic tyres.

A new report has found that, four years into the bizarre scheme, several of the sponsored sites simply ignore the guidelines.

In 2005 there were calls for funding to the Pitt Park bonfire in east Belfast to be withdrawn after masked UVF unionist paramilitaries held a ‘show of strength’ in which a volley of shots was fired.

The bonfires costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to police and clean up every year. It has been estimated that about 500,000 tyres are burned in the North during the annual July bonfires, causing widespread environmental damage.

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© 2008 Irish Republican News