ic NorthernIreland - Cessation Of Violence - 24 People Killed

Cessation Of Violence - 24 People Killed
Mar 26 2004 The News Letter

The UVF/Red Hand Commando has been implicated in around 25 killings since calling a ceasefire in 1994.

According to the Government this cessation - along with the IRA's - is still intact.

This week, the Independent Monitoring Commission was asked to deem the UVF ceasefire over. Chief Reporter STEPHEN DEMPSTER looks back at the UVF/RHC's peacetime death toll.

IN October 1994 former UVF leader Gusty Spence announced the UVF ceasefire by expressing the terror organisation's ''true and abject remorse'' to its victims.

Since then, the feared loyalist killing machine has, according to the Government, maintained a cessation of violence for almost a decade.

This is despite the fact that the group has been accused of a hand in at least 24 murders in that time, as well as other shootings, punishment attacks and various illegal activities.

In all, there have been more than 200 deaths carried out by all these groups or linked to sectarianism since August 1994 and the IRA's first ceasefire.

Since 2001, the UDA and LVF have officially been deemed as ''specified'' groups, meaning their so-called ceasefires are no longer recognised - after a spate of killings by those organisations.

The Real IRA and Continuity IRA remain active and off ceasefire.

The INLA says it is still on ceasefire, despite numerous allegations of punishment beatings and other shootings.

The IRA broke its ceasefire for a period, beginning in February 1996 and has been involved in murder, punishment attacks and other activities since the cessation was recognised again by the Government.

The UVF ceasefire, however, has - by the Government's standards - ''held'' from 1994.

Cynics believe this has been because a blind eye has been turned to their violence because they have been a pro-Agreement organisation, linked to a party (PUP) which has elected representatives.

There has been a need, critics allege, to officially maintain terrorist ceasefires on both the loyalist and republican sides, in order to create stability the peace process, as well as ensuring that their political leaders are not excluded from talks.

The UVF/RHC leaderships have at times condemned attacks by their own members and said they were not sanctioned.

The Government appears to have either accepted this, decided the killings - nearly all of them Protestants - were not political or sectarian and therefore an acceptable level of violence or turned that blind eye.

24 Deaths...

Below are 24 deaths the UVF has been blamed for since October 1994:

Billy Elliott - September 1995: A Red Hand Commando member, the 32-year-old Protestant father of two was shot in Bangor. He had been under threat from loyalists for his alleged role in the band hall murder of Margaret Wright in April 1994.

Thomas Sheppard - March 1996: The 41-year-old UVF man was killed in Coleraine. It is thought the UVF murdered him because he was an informer.

Michael McGoldrick - July 1996: The Roman Catholic taxi driver and father of one, aged 31, was lured to his death outside Portadown. Renegade UVF members led by Billy Wright - soon to become the LVF - were blamed.

George Scott - September 1996: The 32-year-old Protestant was clubbed to death at home in Cookstown during a punishment beating which appeared to go too far. Sources blamed the UVF.

Thomas Stewart - October 1996: The former UVF commander in Ballysillan was shot dead near his home, days after being stood down by the organisation. Some reports blamed the UVF, others a criminal gang.

Rev David Templeton - March 1997: The Protestant Presbyterian Minister, 43, died six weeks after receiving a punishment beating from an alleged UVF gang in Newtownabbey.

His death was the result of blood clot which began in one of the legs broken in the attack. It is believed he was targeted after being caught with an illegal gay pornographic video.

Billy Harbinson - May 1997: The Shankill Road Protestant, 39, died after being beaten and left in an alleyway on Belfast's Shore Road. His friendship with LVF leader Billy Wright made him a target.

Raymond McCord Junior - November 1997: The 22-year-old Protestant and former RAF man was found dead in Ballyduff Quarry near Newtownabbey. A UVF faction has long been blamed for the killing.

William ''Wasy'' Paul - July 1998: The Protestant, 49, was a well-known loyalist figure shot dead on the Kilcooley estate, Bangor. Later a court was told it was ''a UVF murder of an alleged drugs dealer''.

Richard Quinn, Jason Quinn, Mark Quinn - July 1998: The three Roman Catholic brothers, aged 10, nine and eight years-old died in a house fire in Ballymoney at the height of the Drumcree conflict that year. The UVF was blamed for the killings by the police.

Frankie Curry - March 1999: A Protestant father from the Shankill area of Belfast, the 45-year-old was a leading loyalist assassin. There have been conflicting claims but family blamed the UVF.

Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine - February 2000: The Portadown teenagers were stabbed repeatedly to death near Tandragee, Co Armagh.

It is believed they were singled out by a gang of at least four UVF men who knew Robb was an associate of dead LVF leader Billy Wright. McIlwaine was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jackie Coulter and Booby Mahood - August 2000: UDA man Coulter, 48, and friend Bobby Mahood, also 48, were killed as they say in a car on the Crumlin Road, Belfast. Targeted by the UVF as part of a feud with the UDA.

David Greer - October 2000: The 21-year-old Protestant and UDA member, was shot in the chest after an altercation between UDA and UVF men in Tigers Bay at the height of the feud that year.

Tommy English - October 2000: The 40-year-old father of three was a well-known UDA man. He was shot dead at his front door by UVF men during the feud.

Adrian Porter - March 2001: The 34-year-old Protestant was a father-offive from North Down who was also an LVF member. He was killed in his home at Conlig, near Bangor.

It is believed Porter was killed by the UVF because he had a role in the murder of Portadown UVF man Richard Jameson.

Stephen Manners - May 2001: The former UVF man was shot several times in the toilets of a bar in Newtownards.

It is thought the murder was drug related and carried out by a hired hitman on behalf of the Red Hand Commando.

Ciaran Cummings - July 2001: The Red Hand Commando - a code name for the UDA or LVF - claimed the killing of the Roman Catholic teenager from Antrim. But it is widely believed UVF members were responsible.

Stephen Warnock - September 2002: An LVF member and known drugs dealer, it is thought he was killed by the Red Hand Commando in Newtownards in a dispute over drugs.

John Allen - November 2003: The 31-year-old was killed in his home in Ballyclare by the UVF. Allegedly he had fallen out with the local UVF commander.

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