Divis spy post for Rathcoole?

British Government officials are to consider demands by the SDLP for decommissioned watchtowers in nationalist areas to be relocated to hotbeds of loyalist activity.

With the UDA already stepping up its violent campaign ahead of the crunch Leeds Castle talks between the governments and the political parties, nationalists say it’s time for the British to get tough with the loyalist paramilitaries.

And that, they say, must mean moving surveillance towers from peaceful nationalist areas to the strongholds of the UDA and UVF.

Within the past week, the Red Hand Commando, a cover name used by both the UDA and UVF have:

* Used a forklift to ram a Catholic bar in North Belfast before launching a petrol bomb attack.

* Sent bullets through the post to leading republicans, including Gerry Adams.

* Targeted a community centre in the nationalist Rathenraw estate in Antrim town with a hoax bomb.

There were also clashes after a loyalist parade past the nationalist Bawnmore district at the weekend. More attacks are anticipated in the days ahead.

But now nationalist representatives say the British Government must bolster confidence in the upcoming political talks by countering the loyalist campaign.
And that, they say, means building the first-ever surveillance towers in loyalist areas.

“These murderous attacks are being planned in and launched from areas which are free of fixed surveillance points,” an SDLP source said this weekend. “Why should there be watchtowers in Divis, at Woodbourne, at New Barnsley, at Andersonstown, at Musgrave and at Grosvenor just to cover West Belfast alone when there are no spy posts at all on the Shankill, in Mount Vernon, in Highfield, in Rathcoole or in Sandy Row? If the British are serious about tackling paramilitary attacks, they need to decommission the surveillance towers in places like Divis and shift them to these heartlands of loyalist paramilitarism.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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