26 July 2007 Edition

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UDA feud erupts

The violence that erupted in the East Antrim town of Carrickfergus on Saturday night 21 July was the latest episode in internecine UDA feuding.
The violence, on the Castlemara estate in the town, saw up to 150 loyalists confront each other as members of the ‘mainstream’ UDA flooded the area in a show of strength against the breakaway South East Antrim faction.
The mainstream UDA is said to have been reacting to an attack on John Thompson, the representative of the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), the political wing of the UDA, in the area.
This attack came after the six mainstream UDA brigadiers imposed a new leadership on the South East Antrim Brigade, which has refused to adhere to the new political path the wider UDA leadership says it is taking, for which the British government has made over £1m available to the organisation.
In the wake of the attack on Thompson, the UDA surrounded the home of the breakaway South East Antrim brigadier Thompson Gilmore and as violence broke out between the factions the PSNI moved in.
As the PSNI attempted to separate the factions, a male member of the force was shot in the back, although he was not seriously injured.
Members of the South East Antrim UDA are being blamed for the shooting and its members have also been blamed for forcing four families of supporters of the mainstream UDA from their homes.
In the aftermath of the violence, three men, all from the South East Antrim area, appeared in court. They were Thomas Duff (40), Alan James Tynan (36) and John Rafferty (38).
All three were accused of possessing a crossbow, two batons, three knives and CS Spray.

Taxi drivers threatened
Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has called for community leaders and politicians to intervene after a number of Black Taxi drivers were among people warned about threats from an organisation calling itself the Protestant Reaction Force, which has been accused of threatening a number of people from the Oldpark and Ardoyne areas of North Belfst last month.
“I am particularly concerned at these threats to taxi drivers who are providing a valuable service to the many many tourists who come to Belfast to explore the political history of the city,” said McCann.
“These sorts of sinister threats not only display a pathetic territorial bigotry but I would have thought would be counterproductive and portray the Protestant community in a negative light.”

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