Sunday Life

An offer he can't refuse
Government will 'try to persuade' Adair to leaev Ulster for his own good

14 November 2004

The Government wants Johnny Adair to quit Ulster when he's released from jail - to head off another loyalist feud.

Adair's potential to ignite further in-fighting when he walks out of Maghaberry in January, was discussed at a meeting between Secretary of State Paul Murphy and a UDA/UPRG delegation last week.

At one point, the UDA was asked what it proposed to do about Adair when he was released.

But one of the UDA leaders turned the question back on Murphy, asking him: "What are YOU going to do about Adair? He's your problem."

It's understood Mr Murphy told the delegation Adair could perhaps be "persuaded" to leave Northern Ireland permanently.

His wife Gina, and his two main henchmen, Gary Smith and crazed killer John White, now live outside the province, and long-time associate, Sam McCrory, lives in Scotland, where Adair is suspected of having business interests.

The prospect of Adair causing an eruption of more loyalist feuding, is one of two key threats to the UDA ceasefire, which Murphy agreed to recognise again from midnight tonight.

The UDA won't hesitate to kill Adair if he remains in Northern Ireland.

The organisation's leadership has pinpointed a number of individuals who, they claim, have remained in contact with Adair.

They are certain he intends attacking senior UDA figures, after his release.

Said one well-placed source: "If Adair sets up here again after his release, then there will be trouble.

"Even if he moves away, there's still the risk he will stir things up again. If he does, people will lose their lives.

"If he is persuaded to stay away, then it will give the ceasefire a better chance of embedding, and the Government was told that.

"Whether they can persuade him to go and live with Gina, or go to Scotland, is another thing - but they're looking at it."

The second threat is the growing dissident republican and INLA strength in north Belfast, Antrim and Larne.

The UDA warned Murphy that, in making a new ceasefire declaration in Belfast today, they would continue to "defend their areas". Said one 'commander': "Adair and dissident republicans, including the INLA, pose the greatest risk to the new commitment.

"But racketeering activities and all hard drug selling will be absolutely outlawed.

"It's a platform to build on, and the NIO has accepted our commitment."

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