Loyalist targeting continues in north Antrim

I posted a thread several days ago in relation to threats made against Sinn Fein elected representatives and activists in the north Antrim/ East Derry region. Since then, the threats and attacks have intensified. A petrol bomb attack on a home in Ballymena has been confirmed as a case of mistaken identity, with the intended target being a Sinn Fein activist in the town. Cllr Anita Cavlan has recieved yet another threat from loyalists- as has Billy Leonard (Coleraine), whilst Antrim Borough Council’s Henry Cushinan recieved a bomb threat yesterday evening, which turned out to be a hoax.
All of which indicate that loyalists in north Antrim- responsible for a spate of attacks last Summer, as well as the murder of Michael McIlveen earlier this year- remain active and dangerous.

  • huh

    How exactly does the actions of an spanish based english person prove anything about the capabilities of North Antrim Loyalists?

  • Chris Donnelly


    He must have quite an arm to be able to toss a petrol bomb from Spain to Ballymena….

  • huh

    Sadly nothing new in a petrol bombing but pretty much everything else you list goes back to this curious individual in spain

  • Irish in America

    All signs point to David Beckham.

  • qubol

    huh – enlighten us.

  • Irish in America

    Sarcasm qubol.

  • Peking

    The shinners were asking for trouble getting involved with them mad basque separatists.

  • Fair Deal

    From the article linked above

    On Monday, Mrs Cavlan and party colleague Monica Digney received separate death threats from a man calling from southern Spain’s Cádiz province, which borders the British colony of Gibraltar.
    It later transpired that Coleraine Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard had also received nuisance calls at his home.
    The latest round of death threats and bomb warnings may have been made from Gibraltar.
    It is understood the most recent bomb alert was sparked by the same man.

    Another Daily ireland article entitled “Spain based hoax caller targets third councillor”

  • huh

    FD beat me to the answer

  • qubol

    ohhh i see, thanks for the info.

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris, have you seen this report of death threats over seven charged suspects of the McIlveen killing are themselves under threat? Is there any evidence they are linked to an organised campaign?

  • Peking

    So this entire thread has been concocted by Chris Donnelly from a mixture of made-up, heavily slanted and highly selective pieces?
    Slugger has certainly went way down hill since the two competing tossers from the political extremities were invited to start posting threads.

  • Yokel

    It’s perfectly fair or threaten them and indeed attack them. People who support or apologise or simply stay silent on violence, however selective, because it suits them are perfectly fair targets for it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Peter, your language has also gone downhill!

    I think it is important to have people who can blog from a fixed point in the political spectrum. Both have done sterling work over the summer, even if on occasions there is more heat generated than light.

    There’s a rather steep learning curve in this blogging business, and blogging on Slugger is tougher than most places. I don’t expect everyone to like everything said on Slugger. In fact it should be uncomfortable for all of us by times.

    All I ask is that you keep your eye steady and give us a hard time over whatwe write rather than over who we are!?

  • Garibaldy

    Chris is right to point to this type of stuff, but I question the use of loyalists in an undifferentiated way in his introduction. Presumably pipe bomb attacks are carried out by paramilitaries, but petrol bombings and assaults -and even murders – on the street need not be so.
    The introduction suggests a coherence that is not necessarily there. A bit like some unionist posters suggesting that all violence from nationalists is the responsibility of the Provos.

  • Yokel

    Garibaldy, its very very important to take a blanket approach. It makes things real simple. Have you ever seen such a society where people live with such certainties as much as here? Can you imagine if they didn’t have those? Oh my god, they’d cry a new Lough Neagh of distress and confusion. Having any flexibility, understanding of nuances and subtleties would be bad for their mental health….do you think thats fair on the poor dears?

  • Garibaldy


    Fair point.

  • Peking

    “I think it is important to have people who can blog from a fixed point in the political spectrum.”

    Behind that psuedo-babble are you saying that it is important to have party political mouthpieces blogging on Slugger?
    I don’t see why.
    If we want the party line we can go straight to the DUP or SF websites, turn on the tv or radio or lift the newspaper.
    No one is without political views, but there is a world of difference between that and handing an open platform to two competing wannabe Allister Campells.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Yes I had seen that article and heard about it on the news. I think its safe to assume that somebody from within the nationalist/ republican community is responsible for making those threats- indeed, I remember reading about some threats at the time of the arrests on the Bebo website.

    But staying with the thread, Garibaldy may be right to suggest no links between the above attacks and the organised loyalist groupings in north Antrim, but I’d probably bet against it. But even with that, I did not attribute the attacks/ threats to a specific organisation.

    It is a statement of fact that loyalist groups have remained quite active in this particular region, with attacks continuing throughout the Summer on republican memorials and two catholic churches in the area (these attacks occurred alongside attacks on Orange halls in the area, which was itself the topic for a post at the time.)

    The matter of the Spanish caller is relevant in a number of these cases, but it is not yet clear if all the threats can be traced to this individual. Clearly, the attack on the Ballymena home, and the threats issued in Randalstown by loyalist spokesmen to the Antrim Guardian last week (alluded to in the first post) can not be traced to the ‘mystery caller.’

    But all of that should not sidetrack from the issue at hand here: namely, that in majority unionist councils today, Sinn Fein representatives remain active targets for loyalist groupings/ individuals in a way that no other political representatives in the six counties are. Now some may seem to want to dismiss that fact, but the evidence is clear.

    I make no apologies for posting on this topic as it is as valid a topic for discussion as the on-going dissident republican campaign.

  • Anna Dale

    This is probably a petty point to make Chris, but I think if you started using sources other than Daily Ireland for your links, then it would come across initially less as a party political and more of a matter of wider public concern.

    Not necessarily in this case, but in other topics that you’ve covered, my immediate reaction is not to look at the underlying story,but to see if the Beeb, irish News or whoever has also covered it, just to make sure of the facts and get a bit more objectivity.

    Both yourself and Fair Deal are political bloggers, nothing wrong with that at all,but I reckon your arguments would be strengthened by linking into more neutral news sources.

  • Garibaldy


    You’re totally right to point to the unacceptable attacks. I don’t think anybody would dispute that this is as valid as any other topic.

    Again though, I wonder if “loyalist groups” is necessarily the correct way to describe those behind attacks on churches. I’d say it’s more likely to be teenagers and hoods rather than organised groups, although some of those involved may be at the fringes of groups. The same goes for attacks on Orange halls.

    I think the point about unionist council areas is an interesting one – the SDLP man in Larne (Danny O’Connor?) got a hell of a bad time for years but that seems to have calmed down.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Anna Dale

    I think you raise an interesting point, and don’t take this the wrong way, but I think it says a lot about anyone who would immediately dismiss or denigrate a story just because of the newspaper which reports it.

    Mick has repeatedly rebuked commenters on this site for making dismissive comments about stories simply because they emanate from the Sunday Indo or Daily Ireland- and he’s right.

    Both papers may come from strongly opposed ideological backgrounds, but stories and the journalists/ columnists who write them, should be taken at face value. I’ve said it before here, and I’ll repeat myself: all of the local papers have a strong political bias towards one party or another. Does that mean we should dismiss the value of an article from any of the papers just because its editorial line does not match our own?

  • inuit_goddess

    These threats are deplorable whatever the source.

    If we get power-sharing re-established at Stormont, we should replicate that culture of sharing power across the province.

    This would benefit both the unionist minority in the west of the province and equally the nationalist minority in the east.

    Unionism’s aim is a Northern Ireland secure within the UK – the last thing we need is an RPA-style repartition.

  • inuit_goddess

    About quoting from the papers, well lets face it, the Daily Ireland and the Newsletter are basically just the party rags of SF and the DUP.

    You can’t blame people for lending less credibility to a report in either of these party paysheets than they would to a report in a newspaper less entirely slavish to the machinations of the SF and DUP press offices.

  • Anna Dale

    Was that satire Glen?

    “Both papers may come from strongly opposed ideological backgrounds, but stories and the journalists/ columnists who write them, should be taken at face value”

    I take columnists at face value, an Alex Kane writes his point of view, a Brian Feeney does his; you agree with it or not, purely subjective, by and large they’re delivering opinions not facts.

    But a reporter reporting on actual events has to be trusted 100% by whomever is reading that they are actually delivering unadulterated, unembellished facts. Now, move beyond those of a republican background who read your posts. What is the neutral going to put more store by; a post that links into Daily Ireland or one that links into the BBC or the Tele?

  • barnshee

    Er SF and co have “targeted” protestants for what –oh say 30 years they get a taste of the same and girn on about it -get real its the state we live in—- if you cant stand the heat….

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin


    There is a very good reason why I don’t like the slagging of newspapers when it comes to specific stories: it willfully ignores the point of the story itself.

    That is not to say a story cannot be falsified. Indeed stories can be falsified regardless of who puts them out, BBC, ITV, DI, IT, the Sindo, or whoever. Some will wish to put more store in one publication or another.

    The intelligent focus should surely be on testing and weighing the facts and argument against what you know of the wider context and probing them with questions?

    Arguing that one paper or another is more reliable than another without citing references of specific instances is tantamount to an ad homimen or non argument. More than that, it is endlessly circular, and worse it is just plain dull.

    I’m not trying to spare blushes. It’s not generally part of my approach to ‘tackle’ poor journalism, I tend to be drawn to what I think is basically sound. But I have no problem sustaining real criticism, and taking the heat that follows from it.


  • peter fallow

    “Cllr Anita Cavlan has recieved yet another threat from loyalists- as has Billy Leonard (Coleraine), whilst Antrim Borough Council’s Henry Cushinan recieved a bomb threat yesterday evening, which turned out to be a hoax.”

    A pissed simpleton on a package holiday with access to a payphone is evidence of nothing other than…that. Perhaps the most pathetic grasp at a straw of MOPERY yet. Congratulations.

  • POL

    A pissed simpleton on a package holiday with access to a payphone is evidence of nothing other than…that. Perhaps the most pathetic grasp at a straw of MOPERY yet. Congratulations.

    Seems to be a bit more than a pissed simpleton Peter(though aren`t they all)This caller obviously went to spain with specific instructions to make these threats,whilst his erstwhile pals carried out the deeds.Now be in denial if you wish, but this was undoubtedly loyalist.