Feuding loyalists 'working for intelligence'
24/05/2004 - 09:54:20

Loyalists involved in a bloody new feud are working for intelligence agencies in Northern Ireland, it was claimed today.

As police questioned one man about fresh violence between the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), which has left one man dead, Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine accused the intelligence services of helping to recruit new members of the splinter LVF.

Mr Ervine, whose party has links with the rival UVF, which was blamed for last week’s murder of leading LVF member Brian Stewart, claimed the motive was to create havoc within loyalism.

“The existence of the LVF, the behaviour of the LVF, calls into question at the very best the security tactics of the intelligence services in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“These people are allowed to operate for the sole purpose of disruption within loyalism,” he added.

His claims were rejected by an LVF source, who claimed that members of the UVF have long acted as security force agents.

The source said: “David Ervine is accusing police of recruiting the LVF to work for them. The UVF have been involved in 29 murders of Protestants and there has not been one person charged with any of them.

“Before the LVF was formed, who were these people working for? The UVF no longer respects David Ervine’s political opinion and analysis and he is trying to get back in their good books.”

Mr Ervine and other members of the PUP have been informed their lives are under threat following the murder of Mr Stewart, who was gunned down as he arrived for work in east Belfast.

The murder was blamed on the UVF, which is also thought to have carried out two bomb attacks on houses in the Ballyhackamore area at the weekend.

Loyalist sources have also claimed that the UVF was responsible for a gun attack on a vacant house on the Ballybeen Estate on the outskirts of east Belfast last night.

Police said two men on a motorcycle approached the house at Longstone Drive and fired through the front window. They added they were keeping an open mind on the motive.

Mr Ervine, who said he was working tirelessly to end the feud, claimed that police had turned a blind eye to the criminal activities of the LVF.

“The security services want to have the ability to constantly cause agitation within loyalism, which means that it diminishes massively within its own community.

“I don’t think we should have to call on the government to stop the collusion between the security forces and the LVF. It should never have happened in the first place,” he added.


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