Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Loyalists have warned that the Ulster Volunteer Force will ‘fight to the kill’ in a bid to wipe out a rival paramilitary group

Jarlath Kearney:

The warning was issued after a man was shot dead in Belfast yesterday morning as part of an ongoing feud between the UVF and the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Since the start of July, the UVF, which is being blamed for yesterday’s murder, has shot dead four men and wounded several others.

Following yesterday’s killing, a loyalist source told Daily Ireland that the UVF will “fight to the kill” in the feud with the LVF.

Mick Green was targeted when he arrived for work as a delivery driver at Gilpins furniture store on the staunchly loyalist Sandy Row in south Belfast.

As the 42-year-old got off his motorbike around 8.15am, two UVF gunmen shot him several times in the back.

Mr Green came from the LVF stronghold of Ballysillan in north Belfast, but some media reports disputed that he was linked with the organisation.

The UVF and LVF have a history of unresolved feuding over recent years. A loyalist source told Daily Ireland that winning the feud is now the UVF’s only short-term objective.

Efforts to encourage mediation between the UVF and LVF have so far failed.

South Belfast MP and SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell condemned the shooting as a “brutal and cowardly attack”.

“It is clear that people intent on endangering lives and livelihoods are at large in the city. It is crucial for the good of all society that those responsible for this crime are apprehended,” he said.

Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member Michael McGimpsey said everyone in the area was “disgusted” by the killing.

“It has had the trappings of a loyalist feud and we have seen over the summer the police apparently being unwilling or unable to intervene in this feud and we have seen matters basically spiralling out of control,” Mr McGimpsey said.

Rev Mervyn Gibson, chairperson of the umbrella Loyalist Commission which includes unionist political and paramilitary organisations, said that “there is not light at the end of the tunnel with regard to ending the feud”.

“There are those who are trying to talk to both sides on a daily basis to see if there is any point of common ground which can be reached. To date they are having little success,” Rev Gibson said.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey said:

“The ongoing feud has masked from public view ongoing sectarian attacks being carried out by all of the unionist paramilitary gangs across areas of the six counties.

“Given the fact that unionist politicians have for decades tolerated and in some instances encouraged the sectarian anti-Catholic campaigns of the various unionist paramilitaries it is not credible to suggest that they are powerless to act in the face of this latest feud.”

PSNI investigators said that the scene of the killing on Sandy Row would be sealed off overnight until some stage this morning.

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