On Channel 4 News tonight Carl Dinnen reported from here on how, ten years after the 1998 Agreement, “the paramilitaries are still operating in Northern Ireland and many are still holding onto their guns.” He starts with the murder of Paul Quinn, and talks to Assistant Chief Constable Peter Sheridan about that and other republican paramilitaries’ activity. But perhaps the most interesting point comes when he interviews Jackie McDonald – described in the report as the “UDA’s leading brigadier” – about policing and “the people’s guns”. You can watch the video here. [direct link] And here are the relevant quotes.
Carl Dinnen: “What is the point, what is the need for the UDA?”
Jackie McDonald: “Some people.. while the paramilitaries themselves would see that the war is over, the war is over with Sinn Féin, IRA. But there is dissident republicans there. There is the threat from criminal gangs who will exploit the situation, as it happens in Manchester, Liverpool, areas like that. We’ve seen it all in the mainland. That is all going to happen here within the next year or two. There’s going to be dead bodies in the streets here and it’s going to be over territory, it’s going to be over drugs and who owes money to who. And loyalist paramilitaries are going to be loyal to the people who supported them for years and do their best to maintain a sense of law and order in their own communities.”