UDA on the streets.. reluctantly.. allegedly..

Several media reports on the ongoing tension within the social workers UDA and specifically in North Belfast. The BBC refers to a “public show of strength” yesterday, while the Sunday Life provides some detail on what has been going on over the last few days, and I note another mention of Brian Madden, previously spotted in discussions with the NIO. The Press Association report has the contradictory statement which was read out to a group of up to 800 men, and quotes Frankie Gallagher, last seen emerging from talks with Taoiseach Bertie AhernFrom the PA report

A statement was read out declaring that the organisation [UDA] would not allow any criminals to deter it from achieving its goal of a lasting peace for its community.

It said: “There were members who used their position to achieve personal gain and fortune, especially through drug trafficking and drug sales.

“This has resulted in those ex-loyalists attempting to protect their fiefdoms by whatever means available to them.”

The UDA urged the Police Service of Northern Ireland to stop criminals operating in north Belfast but went on to claim that a series of attacks in the Ballysillan and Tigers Bay areas had been carried out.

It added in the statement: “The organisation will not stand by and allow its community and its members to be attacked after 35 years of conflict with the Provisional IRA and republicans.

“We have fought the IRA, the RUC and our own army. If need be we will fight drug dealers.

“We believe that it`s the duty of the PSNI to influence law and order so we can all live in peace and safety.”

Also in the Sunday Life, more rhetoric from Frankie Gallagher.. who adds this in the PA report

“It was to demonstrate that the UDA is capable and willing to defend its people and its communities, but at the same time reluctant to go back.”

Worthwhile re-reading the BBC’s Vincent Kearney’s article on the UDA and criminality

Interestingly, the previously high-profile Jackie McDonald is, once again, noticeable by his absence.

And I keep asking this question, as I’ve yet to hear a good answer to it, but is this really the best we can hope for?