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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine