UVF link to Tobermore murder

The UVF is being linked to the murder of Ronald Mackie at the weekend. The killing followed a loyalist band parade in nearby Maghera and an associated function, held in the grounds of IFA First Division side, Tobermore United. The killing will likely bring further pressure on Ulster Unionist leader, Reg Empey, who formalised an Assembly alliance with the Progressive Unionist Party earlier this year, to the annoyance of some fellow party figures.

  • is there a difference

    Following the Robert McCartney murder there was a considerable media frenzy and significant number of blogs had countless numbers of threads related to the incident attracting hundreds of posts, and rightly so.

    Following a similar incident, which by all accounts was every bit as brutal alledgedly involving loyalist paramilitaries, there isn’t a fraction of the interest in the media or the blogosphere. This thread has been up for three and a half hours and not one single post.
    Will there be as much pressure put on the UUP/UVF as there was on SF to right the wrongs?

    Somehow I don’t think so.

  • Isn’t it the Irish League first division rather than IFA first division?

    I’m not 100% sure but I think the Irish League, like the English Football League (who run the Championship down) are separate bodies from their respective FAs.

  • itad – I hadn’t heard about it until now – has it been reported anywhere besides the Daily Ireland? If not questions should certainly be raised as to why not.

    And if UVF involvement is uncovered, I sadly predict a deafening silence from the Ulster Unionists.

  • Irish in America

    …but the IRA are still criminals!!!

  • Robert Keogh

    is a difference,

    precisely the point many people made at the time. Unionism didn’t give a tinkers toss about Robert McCartney it was simply an excuse to bash SF.

    Look at the Caldwell thread – a gravestone damaged and so far 112 comments, condemnations from all sides. My first reaction to seeing the Caldwell post was that it is absolutely wrong to do such a thing. Yet, here we have a young man murdered and unionists are silent.

    Are there any unionist commenters who don’t support the UVF on this blog?

  • gareth mccord

    what will be the uvf /uup/pup excuse? “IT WAS NOT SANCTIONED SO ITS A ONE OFF”. how many more people will the uvf kill until the unionist politicians stop being afraid and take and demand action sanctions anything to stop the uvf prod killers!

  • aquifer

    I think internment is underrated, but I wouldn’t have any confidence that RUC intelligence files on loyalists are good enough to do it properly. MI5 would be a better bet, given that the English don’t really care whether they go or stay here, thanks to the DUP and their sectarian and quite unbritish style of politics.

  • Alex. Kane

    beano, Robert and Gareth,

    There are many of us in the UUP who have expressed our disgust at the party’s link with the UVF and have asked the leader to end it.

    If this incident does, indeed, turn out to have UVF involvement, then people like myself will, yet again, express our concerns. But, to be brutally honest, my own suspicion is, that if given a choice between sustaining the UVF link and losing members like myself, elements of the party’s leadership team would choose the former.

    Best wishes,

    Alex.

  • Bushmills

    Alex

    Why would you wish to remain in a party that is run by such people in the first place? It’ well-known they tried to get your column criticising their disgusting behaviour pulled, so why stay?

    As to the question re. Unionist commentators – absolultuely, 110% condemn this and if it is proven that the UVF were involved I want to see Ervine’s salary stopped, Dawn Purvis chucked off the Policing Board and the UUP allowances suspended until they break their link with the PUP/UVF. Clear enough?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Are there any unionist commenters who don’t support the UVF on this blog?

    Posted by Robert Keogh on Aug 02, 2006 @ 07:01 AM”

    what a pathetic post. The first comment was as 12.30 a.m. If you need it said, we’ll say it. WE DO NOT SUPPORT THE U.V.F.. WE CONDEMN THE MURDER. WE MAKE NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN THIS KILLING AND THE McCARTNEY KILLING if this Volkischer Beobachter story stands up. It’s indeed for Reg Empey to explain if the UVF are involved. And let’s not firget how quick some posters were to call this an Orange parade to advance their agenda- the Orange order is not involved with the parade or the function afterwards.

  • Alex. Kane

    Bushmills,

    Why stay?

    Because the UUP is a better party than the actions of the leadership would have you believe.

    The vast majority of the UUP membership are, in the fullest and truest sense of the word, “decent” people.

    And, even though I have been informally “approached”, I don’t want to join another party.

    Best wishes,

    Alex.

  • Elvis Parker

    Having had wind of the next UUP scandel down Upper Bann way Alex I’d advise you to leave now.

  • Bushmills

    Alex

    That’s a bit of a cop out to be honest. This isn’t “decent people”-style incompetence we are talking about here. This is the party of which you are a member linking itself directly to an armed an active paramiltary group. I appreciate that sometimes people hang around in the hope that something better will come along, but take a look at it, which senior (MLA, MP) party figure has come out and in a direct unequivocal fashion said this is wrong and has to stop? Certainly anyone who would be considered Reg’s successor – Hermon, McFarland, McGimpsey, Kennedy (jeepers the fact that soemone like Danny Kennedy is considered leadership contendor shows just how far the UUP has slipped) hasn’t. What hope is there therefore that the good ship UUP is going to right itself? I suggest very little.

    My question remains therefore, why stay in such a tainted party, when I know you are a man of principle?

  • circles

    The absolute lack of pressure on the loyalist paramilitaries is beyond all logic. How can anyone possibly defend the lop-sided nature practices unionist politicians who claim to condemn all violence?
    I am not claiming that ALL unionist politicians are hypocrites – only those in a position to say and do something.

  • bertie

    “As to the question re. Unionist commentators – absolultuely, 110% condemn this and if it is proven that the UVF were involved I want to see Ervine’s salary stopped, Dawn Purvis chucked off the Policing Board and the UUP allowances suspended until they break their link with the PUP/UVF. Clear enough? ”

    It’s an absolute bloody disgrace that we have Purvis on the Policing Board.

    It is an insult to all decent law abiding people and in particular to innocent victims of terrorism and even more particularly again, innocnet victims of the UVF!

  • circles

    what about to ALL victims of the UVF and their families?

    Just a question – if there are innocent victims of terrorism, are there also guilty victims? The ons that deserved it?

  • bertie

    circles

    I don’t actually care that much if non innocent victims are insulted and don’t know if insult would be the appropriate word.

    I don’t accept that the UVF had the right to murder or injure anyone. On the other hand if a terrorist was injured by the UVF, I don’t actually care avout their finer feelings on seeing Purvis on the Policing board and would not consider it an insult to them. The “insult” is to non terrorists.

  • bertie

    circles

    Yes terrorists do deserve bad things to happen to them. Other terrorists do not have the right to do it to them.

  • Taylor

    Elvis, let us know more about this UUP scandal!!

  • bertie

    Phew!

    I was hoping someone else would ask!

  • Carson’s Cat

    irish in america
    “..but the IRA are still criminals!!!”

    And so are the UVF, UDA etc. What’s your point?

    As for condemnation – I have no problem whatsoever that whoever is responsible should be rounded up immediately and I couldnt care less if the key is thrown away. Also anyone who seen anything or knows anything should take the information straight to the police to help ensure that those involved are locked up for as long as possible.

    PUP Assembly Allowances (and UUP?) should be stopped immediately (as opposed to Nov 24th) and Dawn Purvis should be immediately removed from the Policing Board. It would seem that Reg’s tactical masterstroke with the PUP just wont go away.

  • bertie

    CC

    I hope that you are going to tuck into a nice saucer of milk. I agreee totally!

    BTW

    I hope you consider writing your memoirs. I’m sure that you have a fascinating tale to tell.

  • Ziznivy

    I would never spring to the defence of the UVF, but certainly if this murder involves members it was not sanctioned. My understanding is that am altercation occured as this young man was leaving the football club after comments from a group of men to a girl in his group. This led to the tragic events outside.

    The distinction between this and the McCartney case will hopefully be in the UVF’s reaction to it, if indeed members were involved. Immediate and uncategorical repudiation and indeed help encouraged to the police.

  • Kenny

    I wonder if the grieving relatives of this young man will be invited to the White House.

    I wonder if they’ll be interviewed on every news program on every channel.

    I wonder if they will be feted by Unionist politicians (in the glare of publicity) demanding
    that the UVF hand the killers over to the PSNI.

    Somehow I doubt it.

    I unreservedly condemn both this murder and that of Robert McCartney. Anyone with relevant information should give it to the PSNI.

    However, I despise the double standards of the UK/USA govt and particularly the Unionist politicians who used the Robert McCartney murder as a “political hammer” with which to beat Sinn Fein.

    These same politicians have had little or nothing to say about this murder. It doesn’t suit their “agenda” to highlight the continuing activities of the UVF so they’ll just let it go without comment.

    Hypocritical and pathetic!

  • cladycowboy

    Will there be a holler of “Yo Mackie” in the White House soon?

  • bertie

    If the UVF were trying to get into government and otheres were trying to force them in, then we would hear the same objections.

    Thankfully at least we are currently spared that prospect.

  • Bushmills

    No response from Alex yet?

  • SpellingBee

    “If the UVF were trying to get into government and otheres were trying to force them in, then we would hear the same objections.”

    Aren’t they trying to get into vicariously via the UUP??????

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Isn’t it the Irish League first division rather than IFA first division?

    I’m not 100% sure but I think the Irish League, like the English Football League (who run the Championship down) are separate bodies from their respective FAs.

    Posted by beano on Aug 02, 2006 @ 12:33 AM

    As an occasional contributor on the Irish League Forums and a die-hard Bannsider (I attend as many Coleraine matches home and away as possible) I can confidently say that you are correct beano.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Are there any unionist commenters who don’t support the UVF on this blog?
    Posted by Robert Keogh on Aug 02, 2006 @ 07:01 AM

    I would like to take this oportunity to unilaterally condemn the murder of Ronald Mackie. I don’t support a lot of what the UVF and their satellite organisation, the Red Hand Commando, do and have done over the years (Quinn murders, feud with UDA/UFF, murder of innocent Protestants from their own community etc etc, I could go on all day) thus the reason I’ve always recognised the Ulster Defence Association as the defenders of my comunity.

    However, I am convinced the UVF as an organisation were not involved in the killing of Mr.Mackie. My band attended Maghera Loyal Sons Of Ulster’s parade, and members of the band went to The Bentley in nearby Knockloughrim for a disco afterwards, but as far as I know none of them went to the Tobermore FC disco so I know of no eyewitness accounts, but “the word on the street” is that it was a fight that got seriously out of hand, which resulted in the unfortunate killing of Mr.Mackie…

    Best Wishes To the Mackie Family…Your Thoughts Are With Us At this Terrible Time.

  • Ringo

    I would like to take this oportunity to unilaterally condemn the murder of Ronald Mackie. I don’t support a lot of what the UVF and their satellite organisation, the Red Hand Commando, do and have done over the years (Quinn murders, feud with UDA/UFF, murder of innocent Protestants from their own community etc etc, I could go on all day) thus the reason I’ve always recognised the Ulster Defence Association as the defenders of my comunity.

    CL – You’re paramilitarism’s equivalent of a trainspotter – (matching anorak & balaclava maybe??).

    You really need to get out more – beyond where the bus takes you on Coleraine’s next away fixture and clear your head of all the hype you’ve been fed.

  • gareth mccord

    alex and not so concerned loyalist, tell us something Why do you make excuses? when are yous both going to admit enough is enough !

  • circles

    CL: You said “I don’t support a lot of what the UVF and their satellite organisation, the Red Hand Commando, do and have done over the years”.

    But even if its only a little, what do you support in what the UVF have done? Be interesting to know. And how did the UDA defend your community?

    Oh one more question. You said “I would like to take this oportunity to unilaterally condemn the murder of Ronald Mackie.” What do you mean by unilaterally?

  • harpo

    Chris:

    ‘Battered to Death by UVF’

    That’s what the title of the piece in Daily Ireland about this incident is.

    I don’t recall them having a headline of ‘battered to death by PIRA’ when Robert McCartney was murdered, do you?

    In that case it was (as usual) full of denials that republicans were involved. Full of pieces asking that we all wait for the full facts before coming to conclusions. And once we knew the full facts it was ‘not sanctioned by the leadership of the PIRA’.

    Chris, in your explanation you say ‘The UVF is being linked to the murder of Ronald Mackie at the weekend’.

    I take what you meant by linked was ‘they did it’.

    It all appears very much like the McCartney situation, doesn’t it? Extremists have a day out and then after booze is consumed someone ends up dead.

    It will be interesting to see if the same approach is taken to this murder as to the McCartney one.

    For example, I wonder how long it will be before republicans start saying they are bored of hearing from the family of the deceased, and if they have a political agenda?

    I doubt that point will ever come. Republicans will simply keep on about the UVF. Just as the Daily Ireland has. If there was to be consistency I’d expect republicans to be on here asking that the benefit of the doubt be given to the UVF, until we know the facts.

  • John East Belfast

    I really dont understand why Nationalist Posters feel aggrieved by what they feel is the lack of pressure on loyalists for this act as opposed to that on the Republican movement over the McCartney murder.

    The Elephant in the room is that SF is the largest Nationalist Party and would be entitled to the role of DFM and other ministerial positions.
    The PUP in terms of votes dont even get into double figures and if it wasnt for the wrong association between the UUP and the PUP then the matter would have no relevance whatsoever.

    The majority of us in the Unionist Community regard loyalist paramilitarism with contempt and dont feel the need to justify their ongoing criminal acts which should be a matter for the Police.

    Concerend Loyalist

    “…thus the reason I’ve always recognised the Ulster Defence Association as the defenders of my comunity.”

    Are you mad ?

    Please btell me what tangible benefit have the UDA ever brought to your community ?

  • Carson’s Cat

    Concerned Loyalist
    Do you think that the UDA or its members are not capable of such an attack? Would it have been different/better if it had been UDA members who had killed someone in a fight because they disagreed on something.

    Whilst you did make an attempt to condemn the actions, unfortunately it was all ruined by the fact that it would seem you dont support one terrorist group but do support another.

    I make no distinction between the UVF and the UDA and make no distinction between loyalist terrorists and republican terrorists. Beating someone to death is not the preserve of either the IRA or the UVF but all of our terrorist mafia groups are equally capable and there are numerous examples of that.

    I also get the feeling that you view this murder as being worse for the fact that it was a Protestant/Loyalist who was brutally kicked to death. I would also make no distinction if it happened to be ‘just’ another innocent Catholic who had happened to be in this fight which happened to “get out of hand”.

    There’s probably not much I agree with John East Belfast on but it would seem that we have similar views on so called ‘loyalist’ paramilitaries. What exactly have they offered to the areas which they claim to ‘represent’ and what have they offered to the wider unionist/loyalist community as a whole? The UDA sell as many drugs as the UVF or the IRA.

    And, you’re not allowed to use the John Taylor quote from Peter Taylor’s ‘Loyalists’ that there “would have been a united Ireland years ago were it not for the loyalist paramilitaries”.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    If in fact the UVF, UFA UFF or any other group were involved, I have no hestitation in condeming them absolutely, no ifs ands or buts, as I do every other terrorist group in the world.

    They are all made up of people who want a pat on the back or much more for stopping what they shouldn’t be doing – like murders. I would imprison any found guilty and throw away the key.

    I would also never be a party to commemorating their exististance, no matter where they come from or how ‘brave’ or ‘principled’ they were.

    If I can be any more unequivocal I am happy to be so.

  • John East Belfast

    Carson’s Cat

    I think it is fair to say we disagree on the tactics of Trimble and the Belfast Agreement but I suspect on the Union in general and our desire to see Northern Ireland as a stable,prosperous and peaceful entity and free from the scourge of paramilitarism of whatever colour we probably have more in common than you give credit for.

  • Elvis Parker

    UUP Scandel
    It is the duty of the media to print it once they have substantiated it.

  • bertie

    Carson’s Cat

    I would agree with you here and I’ve yet to read anything of yours that I don’t agree with. Like you I don’t find myself in agreement with JEB very often. In fact the first time was in his comments after the UUP/PUP Faustian pact. It is another indicatior of how far Empy miscalculated when he thought that there was a real market within unionism for sanitising these gits!

    It is time that the victims of the UVF/UDA etc were listened to and not them!

  • bertie

    SpellingBee you have a point with your 2:26 post, but no-one is pushing for their inclusion and hopefully we can keep them all out.

  • Robert Keogh

    Alex, Darth Rumsfeld, bertie, Carons Cat, Concerned Loyalist,

    I know the vast majority of unionists do not support the UVF, the vast difference in the media and blog coverage of this event compared to that of Robert McCartney is quite obvious to all. The frustration from that hypocrisy got to me.

    The murders of McCartney and Mackie are almost exactly identical. A terrorist group with formal ties to a party that is eligible for ministries in Stormont are involved in a unplanned, non-sanctioned murder. When McCartney was murdered several people pointed out (on this very blog) that if the situation was reversed there would be practically no hue and cry – and well look, they were proved to be absolutely correct.

    I apologise for losing the rag and tarring the entire unionist community.

  • bertie

    Robert

    I only represent a very small section of the “unionist community”, i.e. myself but I accept your apology.

    I’d have to say that I think that I have a handel on Alex, Darth and of course Carson’s feline friend, but I’m still confused about CC!

  • Garibaldy

    Robert,

    I think a lot but not all of the difference lay in the accusation that the Provos as an organisation had swung into action to cover up the murder by having people arrive to cleanse the bar of any forensic activity, started a riot in the Markets when the police arrived to search for evidence, and threatened witnesses to be quiet. There was also the issue of a candidate for an election being present in the bar. Anthoer crucial difference is the fact that the police brought charges here very quickly, preventing any head of steam building up.

    All that on top of the other factors you point to did make it different in people’s eyes, particularly in the eyes of the community from which Robert Mc Cartney came. Had Mr. Mackie been from here rather than Scotland that may also have made a difference.

  • Why

    Upper Bann? would it have anything to do with the UUP abstaining from the voting on committees in Craigavon council and therefore letting SF share a little more power which in turn provoked outrageous attacks including verbal abuse etc etc on UUP councillors by the DUP?

  • bertie,

    no more can be asked for, really. Alex Kane is one of those people with whom I can completely disagree with but still respect – and I don’t always disagree with him.

    Garibaldy,

    I don’t buy that line at all. The strongest indicator of unionist wrath and condemnation is not the nature of the act but if the act can be linked to SF for some political hay. If you go back to the comments at the time (and I’d google if I were you) you’ll find that the reason given by several unionist commentators (and apparently endorsed by rest) for honing in on McCartney and SF and not loyalist murders in the same timeframe was that SF would be members of the Stormont executive.

    As a secondary note, given the problems the PSNI has calling the murder of a catholic by the UVF sectarian, perhaps unionists can understand the reluctance of nationalists/republicans in endorsing fully the the police service in NI.

  • Garibaldy

    Robert,

    I was talking more about the reaction across the spectrum of opinion than just unionism. But what enabled it to be linked so clearly to PSF was the fact that the Provos had swung into action to protect those involved, and identifiable members being in the bar. Although of course there were political things at work