UVF protests signal anxiety over pending supergrass trial?

This morning on RTE Tommie Gorman put his finger on something that’s been little talked about in the wider media so far regarding the unanticipated levels of street protest.

In fact it has little to do with the politics of City Hall and everything to do with the HET putting a tight squeeze on the UVF.

In particular minds in that organisation are being concentrated by the re-emergence of the supergrass trial format. In particular the position of Gary Haggarty:

In January 2010 he agreed to become an assisting offender under the terms of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA).

Some 30,000 pages of material and 760 interview tapes have been amassed from interviews conducted with him.

Mr Haggarty’s lawyers successfully applied for bail during a brief hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court.

Mr Haggarty’s case is due to be mentioned again next month, with committal proceedings expected next year.

This would be a second pass on north Belfast UVF with a pair of supergrasses, the brothers Robert and Ian Stewart, just last year. It failed after 71 days in court.

There’s a school of thought which believes that was in part a dry run for a future for trial based on Haggarty’s evidence: and one of the key reasons that the UVF have taken to the streets.

Given the PUP’s position on flag flying was more Alliance than DUP, there appears to be some logic in that… Paramilitary tail wagging the political dog…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty