The unionist paramilitary UDA has been linked to the murder of Carrickfergus man Glenn Quinn, a former barman who had no paramilitary connections. His death was due to a severe beating he received after he fell out with a senior figure from the South East Antrim UDA.
The badly injured body of Mr Quinn was found in his Ashleigh Park flat in the Woodburn area of the town on Saturday, January 4. It is understood he had been struck multiple times with iron bars and baseball bats.
It is the third murder by members of the paramilitary gang in the last three years. Loyalists Geordie Gilmore and Colin Horner were both shot dead by the organisation in 2017 as part of a long-running feud.
It was reported that Mr Quinn had complained about UDA attacks on a mechanic’s business in Carrickfergus owned by his friend Joe Dunlop. The business was torched on two separate occasions in 2018 because Mr Dunlop’s son Joel was friends with feud victim Geordie Gilmore, and is himself under a UDA death threat.
A recent fist fight between the murder victim and the UDA member, who locals say instigated the public brawl, was the trigger for the fatal attack, according to reports.
Sinn Féin Councillor Oliver McMullan called on the PSNI to “crack down” on the “criminal activity of the UDA and other loyalist paramilitaries.
“Those responsible for this latest killing must be brought before the courts,” he said.
“I appeal to the community to bring forward any information that will assist the police investigation.
“There is also a responsibility on everyone, especially those in leadership positions of political unionism, to face down these criminal gangs and bring to an end once and for all the cosy relationship between unionism and loyalist gangs.”
But there was widespread criticism of a decision by British Direct Ruler Julian Smith to meet representatives of the UDA murder gangs and other loyalist paramilitary groups to discuss political developments in the days before the murder. Smith is yet to make a statement about the latest UDA killing.
The meeting took place at Smith’s official residence. The main issues raised are believed to have been loyalist concerns at British prime minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit withdrawal agreement, as well as legacy issues.
Representatives of political and community organisations linked to the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando were involved.
A British official said Smith had been “keen to meet a range of people, including fringe organisations, to be up to speed and properly informed about outstanding political issues.”