PSNI: “There were gunmen, let’s have no illusions about this…”

A second night of rioting in the Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey saw another attack on a bus driver and petrol bombs being thrown.

And PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland has confirmed the police’s belief that the UVF were involved

ACC McCausland said the violence on Tuesday night was at a lower level than the previous night but said that was “no excuse for what happened”.

“The reality is, there were sinister elements, paramilitary loyalist elements who wanted to make a message about the police going in and searching,” he said.

“There were gunmen, let’s have no illusions about this, there were gunmen who were out on the first night, who were seen by the Fire and Rescue Service and members of the public.

“I believe they were associated with the UVF and I know it was clearly the intention of that particular organisation to make a statement and they exploited the use of young people in making that statement.

“That’s why is was stimulated on the first night. Last night was it was probably more anti-social behaviour.”

And the PUP leader, Brian Ervine, has admitted that UVF members were involved

However, Brian Ervine has said their involvement in the violence was not sanctioned by the leadership of the loyalist group.

“I have no doubt that UVF personnel were involved in the rioting in Newtownabbey,” he said.

“However the UVF did not sanction the violence.”