Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, the ousted loyalist terrorist leader, was warned against attempts to split his former paramilitary unit yesterday.
Ulster Defence Association (UDA) leaders in west Belfast accused the deposed commander and his supporters of running a smear campaign against the new regime. Although Adair is in jail and his associates have moved to Lancashire after being forced to flee Northern Ireland, the association claimed they were attempting to undermine efforts to restore order.
The UDA's brigade in west Belfast said: "Over the last six months, disenfranchised former members and others have waged a campaign of division. These individuals brought nothing but heartache and shame to our organisation and community in the past and are intent in doing the same in the present and future. We would inform those individuals that their campaign is not working, nor will it work in the future."
Adair was sent back to Maghaberry Prison, near Lisburn, Co Antrim, 12 months ago at the height of a vicious power struggle in the UDA which left four men dead. His family and friends were forced to quit their former power base in the Lower Shankill area of the city as the terrorist organisation took control.
Adair's wife, Gina, and his son, Jonathan, were arrested by police in Bolton last year on suspected drug offences. But the UDA has now blamed its former comrades of trying to "create an atmosphere of distrust and disharmony" within the group. The UDA added: "This organisation has worked tirelessly to overturn a legacy of shame those former members left behind. The brigades have been built and we are continuing to stabilise and develop our communities."
¿ Police arrested a man yesterday over the murder of a Co Down pensioner last week. The body of Martha Young, 86, was discovered at her home outside Ballynahinch last Friday. Police have not released further details about her death.Reuse content