Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Nationalist politicians have called for more attention to be focused on loyalist terrorists after they were recently implicated in two murders

Maeve Connolly:

Loyalists have been blamed for the weekend murder of Thomas Hollran, while speculation has also linked them to the killing of Ronald Todd whose body was found in the River Lagan.

The murders come after the latest report from the independent body which monitors paramilitary activity found that the UDA was continuing to "undertake targeting, shootings and assaults".

The loyalist activity follows allegations that Greysteel killer Torrens Knight, who murdered 12 people, was being paid by Special Branch after his release from jail.

Last night (Monday) nationalists claimed there had been little political reaction to the events, although unionists denied this.

East Derry SDLP assembly member John Dallat accused unionist politicians of having "different standards" when reacting to loyalist violence.

"There are too many people on the unionist side who are still not prepared to speak clearly on the whole issue of loyalist paramilitaries. There are different standards of behaviour [within unionism] when it comes to loyalist paramilitaries," he said.

Sinn Féin West Belfast assembly member Michael Ferguson said unionist politicians had a history of "ignoring what unionist death squads have been involved in".

While police said there was no evidence of a paramilitary link to Mr Todd's murder, Mr Ferguson said "it would come as no surprise" if loyalists were to blame.

"It is commonly known that loyalists are heavily involved in the trafficking and distribution of drugs," he said.

There has been speculation that Mr Todd (30), a father-of-two, was abducted, killed and dumped in the River Lagan by loyalists over his drug-dealing activities.

Meanwhile, the detective leading the inquiry into the murder of Mr Hollran (49) last night said police were investigating possible loyalist involvement. Mr Hollran's family has blamed the UDA for beating the father-of-one to death.

Killers need to be tried by law

Two murders in week grim reminder of loyalist threat


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