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2 November 2014 Edition

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Loyalist death threats to solicitor and republicans

• Paul Maskey MP

UDA death squad members implicated in the assassination of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane are reported to be behind the threats to another solicitor

A WEST BELFAST solicitor under threat from loyalists has insisted he will not be deterred from continuing to represent his clients.

nd two Belfast republicans working with unionist and loyalist communities have also received death threats.

Solicitor Pádraig Ó Muirigh was informed by the PSNI on Friday 17 October that loyalists were monitoring his movements and intended to attack him. It has since emerged in media reports that members of a UDA death squad implicated in the assassination of well-known human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, shot dead in his home in front of his family in February 1989, are behind the threats to Ó Muirigh.The threat is said to be linked to one of the solicitor’s clients, Shankill Road woman Tracey Coulter.

Ms Coulter has been involved in a long-running dispute with Shankill UDA chief William ‘Mo’ Courtney. Courtney was convicted earlier this year for head butting her and received a suspended sentence.

She has since been forced from her home after a series of attacks.

Ó Muirigh described the threat, coming from a gang previously involved in killing a solicitor, as a “sinister development” but said he will continue to represent his clients, including Tracey Coulter.‘Mo’ Courtney was named as a member of the gang, including five British agents, that assassinated Pat Finucane. He was subsequently identified as agent L/22 in QC Desmond de Silva’s report into collusion between British state forces and the death squad behind Pat Finucane’s death.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey is calling on loyalists responsible for issuing death threats against west Belfast republicans, former Belfast Mayor now historian Tom Hartley and Seánna Walsh to withdraw them immediately. News of the threats, linked to the UVF, emerged on Wednesday 22 October.

Paul Maskey said:

“Tom Hartley and Séanna Walsh have been engaged with unionists and loyalists for most of the last 20 years of the Peace Process on a range of topics.

“Many of these engagements have been in loyalist areas. At no time did either Tom or Séanna encounter any hostility to their presence. 

“These death threats need to be lifted to ensure this essential peace-building work can continue in unionist and loyalist areas.”

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