Feuding loyalists bring the fear back to Belfast

Belfast's Protestant para-military strongholds are again gripped in one of the bouts of sporadic feuding which erupt in the loyalist underworld, claiming lives and causing much social disruption. Such violence is a familiar part of the Belfast landscape: each year of the past decade has seen killings resulting from them, usually of active loyalists.

Two feuds are boiling, one of them centring on disputes within the Ulster Defence Association, the largest grouping. But the one causing most worry involves the Ulster Volunteer Force, another large grouping apparently intent on wiping out the smaller Loyalist Volunteer Force.

The UVF is generally regarded as the least bad of the loyalist groups, largely because it is the most political of the paramilitary organisations and supports the overall peace process. But it is still a violent organisation involved in organised crime, whose feuding with the LVF frequently flares into open violence. In recent weeks, the UVF has killed two men, one of whom had no obvious LVF connections.

The LVF, which broke away from the UVF in 1996, was initially involved in many sectarian killings but is now regarded as essentially a straightforward drugs gang. A senior loyalist said yesterday: "LVF criminality goes into rapes, drugs and all that. The UVF is saying this has to stop and is trying to mop all of this up. Maybe there should have been one night of the long knives years ago; that might have sorted a lot of this out."

The UVF has been targeting Ballysillan in north Belfast and Garnerville in the east, areas where LVF members and supporters tended to cluster. At Ballysillan, a loyalist taxi firm was firebombed and two houses were pipe-bombed.

On Sunday, up to 300 people appeared in Garnerville with the intention of expelling LVF families from the district. Some families moved out; yesterday about 100 men were on the streets.

Police have been monitoring the situation with patrols and by helicopter. Ironically, Garnerville has strong security associations, as the site of the police training college.

The Government has stopped allowances due to the UVF's political wing, the Progressive Unionist party, because of the violence. The UVF does not appear to have abandoned its political aspirations, but these have been shelved during its attacks on the LVF. The PUP leader, David Ervine, said the feud will get worse, his party had no influence and was powerless to intervene. He added: "The UVF is engaged in murder and the planning of murder. Anyone who is not moved by that isn't a human being. It's terrible and it must end."

Inside the UDA, recent tensions between the north and south Belfast "brigades" led to 100 men from the north area arriving in Sandy Row in the south of the city, where there was what one UDA figure described as "a Mexican stand-off".

This resulted from an incident in which a north Belfast UDA "got a duffing", in the words of a colleague, in the southern brigade's area. The incident was peacefully resolved, though the north Belfast leader's expensive gambling habits may mean his days in a position of responsibility may be numbered.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own