Catholics will be targeted when loyalists stop their fighting, councillor warns

A nationalist councillor has warned Catholics to be vigilant, claiming that the lesson of history is that when loyalist feuds end, Catholics end up dead.
Sinn Féin’s Joe O’Donnell said that loyalist feuds were becoming an annual event – “almost like the Twelfth.”

Tensions rise as feud continues

Nationalists are being warned to be on their guard amid fears that the fall-out from the latest loyalist feud could see the UVF and LVF turn their guns on the Catholic community.

Just weeks after the 2000 Shankill UDA/UVF feud ended, loyalists murdered Catholic builder Gary Moore at a construction site in Monkstown. The same day, December 6, the UDA shot and seriously wounded taxi driver Paul Scullion as he sat in his car on the Oldpark Road.

For the past three years the Short Strand has borne the brunt of sporadic loyalist attacks. And with East Belfast acting as the epicentre of the latest UVF/LVF feud residents of the isolated nationalist enclave are fearful they could be targeted.

Local councillor Joe O’Donnell called for the feuding to halt.
“Loyalist feuds are becoming an annual event, almost like the Twelfth,” he said.

“This latest one certainly isn’t helping the peace process which is at a very difficult stage.

“There is genuine concern from within my community that people could become the target for attacks. That is why this pointless killing has to stop to allow the peace process to get back on track.”

The weekend saw two pipe bomb attacks on the homes of men connected with the LVF in the east of the city. It is believed the UVF was behind both murder attempts.

The attacks came after last Tuesday’s UVF murder of LVF commander Brian Stewart. The killing was sparked by a number of brawls between members of the rival groups. The LVF have vowed to avenge the murder of its chief and have targeted prominent PUP politicians David Ervine and Billy Hutchinson. Speaking yesterday, Mr Hutchinson said he would not be intimidated.

“Nobody knows what’s going on at the minute, and I think our party will sit down after Brian Stewart’s funeral to discuss everything,” he said.

“I don’t know what this feud is about, but one thing is for certain – my party will not be intimidated by a group who have been involved in feud after feud.”

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes

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