27 September 2007 Edition
Unionist paramilitaries : Fears UDA feud may spread
PSNI refuse to give information on threat to Minister
SINN FÉIN Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said that the refusal of the PSNI to provide information about the extent and nature of the unionist paramilitary death threats against herself and other party members in the Fermanagh area is totally unacceptable.
“The recent Police Ombudsman’s report highlights serious failures in the way that loyalist threats are handled.
“In recent weeks there have been a number of serious incidents in the Fermanagh part of my constituency. The Sinn Féin office in Lisnaskea has been attacked and threats made against named members of the party including myself. These purport to come from the Red Hand Defenders”, Gildernew said.
“I have spoken with senior members of the PSNI about this. The PSNI have refused to provide information about the extent and nature of the loyalist death threats against me and other party members in the Fermanagh area. This conceivably heightens the risk because I am unable to take preventative measures. This is totally unacceptable.
“I have brought this to the attention of the Irish Government also”, she said.
Meanwhile there are fears that the latest eruption of feuding within unionist paramilitary group, the UDA will spread beyond its latest focal point of Carrickfergus in County Antrim.
The feud between the UDA’s South east Antrim faction and the rest of the loyalist organisation saw two houses in Carrickfergus targeted in gun and pipe-bomb attacks last weekend.
Gangs of UDA paramilitaries also massed in the nearby town Larne last weekend weekend and staged ‘shows of strength’ at two local pubs.
The breakaway UDA faction is in South East Antrim is accusing the UDA leadership of organising the event in an effort to stir up trouble.
George Robinson, who is vice-chair of the UDA splinter group Beyond Conflict in Larne, claimed the group was trying to move from paramilitary activity to helping the community.