Daily Ireland

Loyalist leaders hit out at right-wing website

Loyalist leaders have slammed an extreme right-wing race-hate website that targets anti-racist campaigners in the North of Ireland.
The website, which has strong links with Combat 18 and the White Nationalist Party, recently posted pictures of several prominent loyalist representatives, including senior South Belfast UDA man Jackie McDonald, who took part in an anti-racism demonstration in Belfast last year.
The website includes pictures of trade unionists, anti-racism activists and members of the clergy, and asks visitors to the site to identify those featured.
In recent weeks, a picture featuring Chairman of the Loyalist Commission, Reverend Mervyn Gibson, South Belfast assembly member Michael McGimpsey, Shankill-based UPRG man and Belfast City Councillor Frank McCoubrey, Newtownards councillor and UPRG man Tommy Kirkham, and South Belfast UDA leader Jackie McDonald standing beside a Workers’ Party banner was posted on the site.
The English-based website lists the pictures and personal details of dozens of anti-racism activists across Ireland and Britain. The site is linked to several “white power” groups with sympathies to loyalists in the North.
Traditional areas of support for such groups include North Antrim and Derry, Portadown and parts of Belfast including the Village where ethnic groups were targeted in a systematic campaign of intimidation and violence last year.
In a major slight to the loyalist representatives who attended the anti-racism demonstration, a message on the hate-filled website reads: “Notice there are no union flags on this parade. Plenty of red ones though. How can so-called loyalists mix with these fenian scumbags and still call themselves British? They are a disgrace to this country and should hang their heads in shame”.
Shankill UPRG man Frank McCoubrey reacted angrily to the contents of the website last night.
“We attended City Hall to express our outrage at what had happened in terms of racist attacks,” said Mr McCoubrey. “This has been put on by some half-wit sitting in a house in England somewhere. It shows how far in the past these people are. We want an environment where not just Catholics and Protestants can move on but people from ethnic groups can as well. This sort of thing only makes it difficult for people trying to move forward.
“Where were these people during the Troubles when there was 30 years of war going on? Not many of them came to the Shankill Road to help defend it. I am someone who has lived in West Belfast and I don’t take these people under my notice. They are no threat to me and should be treated with contempt. If they want to open a debate about this issue they can come and do so.”
The placing of the picture on the right-wing website comes just weeks before loyalists prepare to launch a new initiative to combat the influence of right-wing race hate groups in their ranks.
Chairman of the powerful Loyalist Commission Rev Mervyn Gibson said he had no concerns about his image being placed on the website.
“It doesn’t particularly worry me,” he said. “I am happy to stand by anybody who is anti-racist. I have no time for racism in Northern Ireland. There is racism within republicanism, loyalism and the churches. We are happy to address the issue and hope that others do the same.”

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