Sunday Life

UDA boss bridging the golf between traditions

25 July 2004

A LOYALIST terror chief joined Irish President Mary McAleese's husband for a round of golf at Ireland's most exclusive club, it has emerged.

UDA 'brigadier' Jackie McDonald - better known for his association with baseball bat-wielding gangs than golf clubs - enjoyed a game with Martin McAleese at the £200-a-round K Club in Co Kildare.

He revealed that he had taken part in the charity game last year, after travelling to the exclusive club to meet Dr McAleese to discuss funding for a youth football team.

However, McDonald denied claims that he and north Belfast UDA leader Andre Shoukri had returned to the club earlier this month.

"It is no secret I have known the McAleeses for a number of years, and they visited loyalist areas in Belfast at our request," McDonald told The Irish News.

"We hadn't planned to play golf, but were asked to take part in the event.

"It would have been rude to say no.

"We are trying to break down the misconceptions between people in the Republic and loyalists up here.

"If someone wants to criticise me or Martin McAleese for doing that, then fine."

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