Irish Republican News · June 23, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Short Strand quiet amid talks with UVF ‘Beast of the East’

Despite crowds of over a thousand gathering in east Belfast, the Short Strand experienced a tense but relatively trouble-free night last night.

The isolated Catholic enclave has been under siege for the past three nights, but the level of direct violence sustained by the community has lessened, with only sporadic outbreaks of missile throwing by flag-waving loyalists.

As rain began to fall and amid a heavy presence of PSNI police and Sinn Fein stewards, crowds dispersed from the area about 1am.

Talks involving the unionist paramilitary UVF, government officials and community representatives are set to continue today in an effort to end the clashes before a potentially difficult sectarian parade through the area on Friday.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex Maskey said hopes were growing of an end to violence.

“There have been intensive discussions ongoing and I would be hopeful that they would bear fruit,” he said.

“As far as I have heard there’s a lot of good stuff going on and I have been optimistic.”

The UVF leader in the area, known as the ‘Beast in the East’, is believed to have orchestrated the violence in pursuit of a selfish agenda.

The British government has also been accused of pandering to the UVF murder gangs when its so-called ‘Independent Monitoring Commission’ openly endorsed the organisation’s murder last year of Bobby Moffett.

Moffett, a former high-ranking loyalist who ran foul of the UVF leadership, was executed in broad daylight on the Shankill Road in west Belfast, but government and security officials opted to ignore the murder.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News