Shankill set to vote on Adair return

The people of the Shankill Road are to be asked to take a vote on whether “Mad Dog” Johnny Adair should return to the bosom of his former stomping ground.
Though the initiative is still under wraps it’s believed that the Shankill Mirror will conduct the poll when the marching season ends.
It follows months of discussion among residents of the Shankill and shows while some people are glad to see the back of the former C Coy leader, others would welcome him back with open arms.
Adair is due for release from Magaberry jail in January and as he walks out of the prison where he has spent his time off the wings and in the prison hospital for his own safety, the public will be wondering just where he will go next.
Despite any vote, Adair has hinted that he just wants to join his wife Gina and the family when he is released.
His son Jonathan, “Mad Pup”, is currently serving a jail term for drug dealing.
The last person to come home was 21-year-old Alan McCullough, but he was found in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Glengormley.
The Adair family minus dad who was in jail were dramatically evicted from their Boundary Way fortress by the North Belfast UDA in February 2003.
It happened at the height of the bitter loyalist feuding in the UDA that led to the murder of South East Antrim chief John “Grug” Gregg.
One UDA insider said he didn’t believe Adair would return to his Shankill heartland.
“If he wants to come back it’s up to himself, but the position of the UDA was made clear at Westland on the eleventh night. If he had any sense he’s stay away,” said the source.
But the widow of Adair’s former associate Jackie Coulter who was shot dead in August 2000 during the height of the UDA/UVF feud said she hoped Johnny would be coming home.
Agnes Coulter said many people would be glad to see Johnny back on the road.
“The ones in here now just do their own thing. I think the people could trust them after the death of Alan McCullough who was a lovely wee lad. People didn’t like that and the way he was found in that shallow grave,” she said.
“We’ll see what happens, but Johnny definitely has a lot of support. I understand they are going to set it up like a proper vote with a secret ballot. I’ll certainly be voting for Johnny’s return,” she said.
A spokesman for the Shankill Mirror said it could not comment on the speculation, but said there had been much interest in the issue of Adair’s impending release.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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