Loyalist terrorists and this summer’s mayhem

Summer in Northern Ireland has for a very long time been associated with heightening of sectarian problems and criminality. This year has been as bad as many for some time. Throughout this summer the media and others have held a number of organisations and individuals to account over this. Whether someone agrees or disagrees with this holding to account tends to depend on one’s social / political / sectarian position.

So far we have had Ruth Patterson repeatedly criticised for her involvement in the flag protests and more recently charged over her comments on a Facebook page. Meanwhile Peter Robinson and the DUP has been attacked for assorted supposed acts of “lack of leadership”. The UUP and TUV on the other hand have been criticised for supposed political opportunism.

On the other side of the sectarian divide the SDLP have been in trouble for supporting the naming of a playpark after an IRA terrorist. Gerry Kelly is under investigation for his ride on a police land rover (as an aside why are the new white landrovers supposed to be so much more “cuddly” than the grey ones from my childhood). Meanwhile Sinn Fein have been criticised (and Kelly again) over the Castlederg parade whilst dissident republican Marion Price / McGlinchey has been convicted over a 2011 parade.

One of the groups most heavily involved in criminality this summer have been loyalists. Two leading loyalists (Willie Frazer and Jamie Bryson) have been arrested and imprisoned before being granted bail and in Frazer’s case arrested again. Frazer and Bryson whatever their alleged affiliations are not, however, part of the mainstream loyalist paramilitary movement.

Rather the loyalist violence has clearly had a degree of orchestration which can only have come from mainstream loyalist paramilitaries: the UVF and / or UDA. Whilst there has undoubtedly been massive anger in unionist working class areas over the flags issue and others, petrol bombs etc. cannot be made in significant numbers particularly quickly. This implies a degree of organisation and planning which can realistically only have come from one or both of those terrorist organisations. It has been repeatedly stated by well informed sources that the UVF was behind much of the violence surrounding the flag protests in the winter and Brian Rowan has effectively admitted the UVF’s heavy involvement in this some of this summer’s violence.

Furthermore the UVF has been linked to the sale of drugs which have caused the deaths of a number of young people in East Belfast over the last few months.

In spite of all this there has been remarkably little calling to account of the loyalist terrorists (especially the UVF on this occasion) within the mainstream media or elsewhere. Earlier this year at the Cardiff talks along with the assorted democratically elected representatives, the police, facilitators and various do-gooders, there were the representatives of loyalist paramilitaries. They were there not as police officers, elected politicians or do-gooders but as representatives of illegal loyalist terrorist organisations which, especially in the case of the UVF, has murdered two dozen people since their supposed ceasefire.

This initiative seems to have failed spectacularly during the summer with, in addition to rioting, the aforementioned continued drug dealing. Yet in all this we still as a society, and the media especially, maintain the charade that when loyalist terrorists engage in criminality they are doing so individually rather than collectively. I have been going over this for years and years but it is probably worth asking again: when are we as a society going to start calling for the arrest of criminals for their crimes? If for nothing else, then for the crime of belonging to a proscribed organisation. Instead they have been invited to royal events, to play golf and in general the persecutors of the working class unionist community have been treated for years as if they were something other than common criminals. Yet again, however, this summer, the mainstream media who have been passing opprobrium all round them for what we have seen have said little enough directly against the loyalist terrorists. Nor have they called Matt Baggot to account for failing to ensure the arrest of the ring leaders, contenting himself instead on high profile but largely irrelevant individuals such as Willie Frazer.

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  • megatron

    One of my favourite tv shows of recent vintage was / is the Americans.

    What I learned watching that show was that no matter how much we would like it to the world does not break down into good and bad like your posts so often imply Turgon.

    My impression was there was quite a lot of arrests of non high profile individuals (there was a story at some stage of some young lad crying in court).

    Many fellow republicans may disagree with me on loyalists arrests but I personally dont think they solve any problems – perhaps if evidence was found against the “ringleaders” but I suspect this is less ringled (if thats not a word it should be) than you think.

  • Turgon

    The critical point about “the Americans” is that it is fiction. Sadly loyalist terrorists are fact: their drug dealing is a fact; the two dozen murders are facts. There is also the very strong impression that their ring leaders are above the law and the media and others (especially Matt Baggot) seem to have little interest in calling them to account.

  • Mc Slaggart


    Was Martin McGuinness correct in tweeting “Make no mistake about it; those responsible for tonight’s violence against the police are the combined forces of the UVF & OO in N Belfast.”

  • Clanky

    Far from the DUP simply failing to provide leadership they stoked the flames in the first place with their anti-Alliance leaflets over the fleg and have continued to stoke the flames all summer when they could have doused them a little, but were too scared of Jim et al to be seen to have backed down.

    The terrorists alone may have been able to bring a few discontented kids onto the streets, but it is the politicians that have sprayed fuel on the fires and with a wink to “law and order” incited violence throughout the year to further their own political aims.

  • Zig70

    The big thing for me is the UVF flags on marches and estates with the off hand excuse that it represents the old uvf. Maybe in some people heads but when you place them with murals in the estates, that reasoning looks feeble. Along with the fact that which historical militia being remembered on lampposts changes depending on who controls the area. Do they think we are that gullible? From outside it looks like the pul community are comfortable with paramilitary run estates.
    The charge from nationalists has always been that Unionist politicians shout ‘down with that sort of thing’ while sharing platforms, handshakes and marches with loyalist leaders. Now that the damage is too much, you want to put them back in the bottle and thick paddies won’t remember all the previous statements in support of bringing people onto the streets. Give us a break.

  • tacapall

    Well fair play to you Turgon for stating the obvious. As if the rest of society in this land we share didn’t already know but the problem is its not us ordinary folk you should be focusing your facts and venom on, its your leader Jim Allister of the TUV and the leadership of both the DUP and UUP who all seem quite happy to ignore those facts that you write about, did the snake oil salesman Allister not share a platform with Billy Hutchinson recently who went on to tell the audience that he and Jim Allister spoke with one voice, also present was representatives of the UDA and RHC and aren;t these same people members of the unionist forum up at Stormont and still you have the brass neck to omit the glorification of murderers by the UVF in Allisters own constituency. Im sorry Turgon but your crocodile tears fool no-one but yourself.

  • stewart1

    The band that led Belfast District No 6 in the east Belfast Orange Order Somme parade on the 1st of July this year was also led by a uniformed UVF colour party at a parade commemorating an east Belfast UVF commander less than a month before. (as per clip)


    So understandable that people make a connection between the two.

  • carl marks

    Turgon, you have done something few other unionists would do, criticised the loyalist terror groups!
    This I respect.
    My question is simple,
    I have read on slugger that you are a member of the TUV (is this is untrue ignore my question)
    Why does the TUV have a very different approach to the illegal actions of loyalists than it has to republicans (if you argue that there is no different please produce verifiable quotes or statements from the TUV or Jim Allister supporting your argument e.g. statements condemning loyalists)
    And the TUV was very vocal about the Shinner nonsense at Castlederg but silent about the UVF’s very similar parade in Coleraine.

  • Comrade Stalin


    I haven’t read your article in full but in terms of your comment above .. I don’t blame the police. They don’t arrest paramilitaries because they feel they do not have a mandate to do so.

    The only way this will change is if the executive drafts and carries forward an end-to-end strategy supporting the police in actively taking down organized crime and paramilitary organizations.

  • It was pretty disgusting that the UDA leader was invited to play golf with the ROI President’s husband.
    Equally so was Robinson treating the east Belfast UVF “godfather” and his cronies for tea and crumpets at Stormont.

  • BluesJazz

    MI5 control the paramilitaries.

    It’s got nothing to do with the police, or the so called ‘executive’ unless MI5 makes it so.

    Security (Regnum Defende) is a National matter, not one for Sheriff Robbo and his Deputy.. Less so their Muttley minister at ‘Justice’.
    Leave it to the big boys.

  • Kevsterino

    Turgon, my hat is off to you for this post because it offers no if’s, and’s or but’s, just a straight forward call to address a clear and present problem.

    Well done.

  • wild turkey


    you write, with what i have long suspected: a serious righteousness and considerable cajoles.

    for that,sir, i hold you in the highest esteem and respect.

    and while it may seem a bit off thread, i leave you with a bit of encouraging scripture. Philippians 4:

    Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

    And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
    whatsoever things are honest,
    whatsoever things are just,
    whatsoever things are pure,
    whatsoever things are lovely,
    whatsoever things are of good report;
    if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,

    think on these things.’

    clearly, you have Turgon. for now nothing more be said

    good luck and gods blessings

    wild turkey.

  • Clanky[10.46] Have you noticed also that when Robbo finally condescended to address the OO riots against the PSNI in the Strormont debate hastily arranged, he was careful to criticize only one individual who used a sword and said he should be jailed, and made no genereal condemnation of the loyalists other than that. I suppose he knew he could depend on the BBC and Unionist TV [and their pals at the News Letter and Tele]to spin it that he had condemned the attacks. He has yet to make a single reference to the attempted murder of a police officer at the 12th riots. We’ve come to expect no better from the DUP/uup/tuv than that but the broadcasters are a pathetic waste of space.

  • FDM

    It is unionism that is keeping loyalist paramilirtaries alive.

    They need them. They need because from time to time they use them to stoke up the fires of division and hatred in society.

    They use loyalist paramilitaries as a stick to beat the Catholic community, the governments and the police with.

    Time literally without number we have seen unionism walk hand in glove with extreme violent loyalist killers. They share platforms with them. They walk side by side at parades, commemorations and remembrance days. They are all there together at the funerals of these violent men. They defend them in the media and utter not a word of condemnation. They were “counter-insurgents fighting the IRA”, so they say. “Defenders of Ulster”. This is what we see, the tip of the iceberg. We do not see the behind the doors activities, which are bound to be more abundant and even more nefarious.

    Lets be very clear about loyalist paramilitaries from an objective source. In the review document of Operation Banner the British Army concluded that loyalist paramilitaries were “little more than a collection of gangsters”. Gangsters then and now.

    The UVF, UDA, RHC has operated as the paramilitary wing of unionism during the entire troubles and beyond. I see very little to differentiate between them. The lead unionist party the DUP for one certainly seems to have no issues with loyalist terrorists.

    Sure here is Tommy Sandford.


    Here is a DUP election candidate John Smith Jnr convicted of a pipe bomb attack on Catholics.


    He is the son of long-serving ex-DUP councillor John Smyth, who was elected to Antrim Borough Council. Mr Smyth had previously served a five-year sentence in the 1970s for UVF activities.

    Ian Paisley and his Democratic Unionist Party have been involved with Ulster Resistance and worked alongside loyalist paramilitaries such as the Ulster Defence Association in the 1974 Ulster Workers’ Council Strikes and the 1977 Loyalist Association of Workers strike.

    Ulster Resistance was a paramilitary movement established by unionists in Northern Ireland in 1986 in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The group was launched at a three thousand-strong invitation-only meeting at the Ulster Hall. The rally was chaired by the Democratic Unionist Party member Sammy Wilson and addressed by party colleagues Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster.

    At a rally in Enniskillen, Peter Robinson announced; ‘Thousands have already joined the movement and the task of shaping them into an effective FORCE is continuing. The Resistance has indicated that drilling and training has already started. The officers of the nine divisions have taken up their duties’.

    At a rally in the Ulster Hall Paisley spoke of the need for the Third Force to fight against the aims of republicanism. He was then filmed dramatically placing a red beret on his head and standing to attention.

    DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson was also photographed wearing the loyalist paramilitary regalia of beret and military fatigues at an Ulster Resistance rally.

    The Ulster Resistance grouping worked with the UVF and UDA to procure arms. The arms arrived in 1987 and the CAIN index show the death toll resulting amongst the Catholic community. After the recovery of some of the weaponry by the RUC the DUP subsequently claimed that they had severed links with the group later in 1987.

    The DUP and Ulster Unionist Party have been willing to sit and work with people in Belfast city hall so-called ‘men of violence’ in the past – so long as they were loyalist. Unionists have previously elected politicians with links to the UVF and UDA to the positions of lord mayor and deputy mayor, supported by both those parties.

    In 1983 unionist councillors elected the PUP’s Hugh Smyth as deputy mayor, four years before the UVF’s ceasefire. He was made mayor by the same in 1994, four months before the UVF ceasefire.

    In 1986 DUP leader Ian Paisley attended the wake of murdered UVF Lietuenant-Colonel John Bingham. Other high-ranking unionist councillors attended Mr Bingham’s funeral, where his coffin was draped in a UVF flag, beret and gloves. The men included the then North Belfast MP Cecil Walker, former DUP councillor George Seawright, former UUP mayor John Carson and councillors Joe Coggle, Frank Millar and Hugh Smyth.

    In 1993 DUP councillor Billy Baxter was jailed for three and a half years for his part in a UVF extortion racket.

    In September 1996 leading DUP figure William McCrea sparked controversy when he joined LVF leader Billy Wright on a public platform in Portadown.

    In December 2000 deputy mayor Frank McCoubrey, who despite being a member of the UDA-linked UDP was elected to the post by mainstream unionist councillors, was a character witness for a man in court on attempted murder charges relating to the UDA/UVF feud. McCoubrey’s wore his official robes and chain of office to a “Loyalist Day of Culture” held on the Lower Shankill on 19 August 2000, where he shared a stage with UDA/UVF members Johnny Adair and Michael Stone at the height of a loyalist feud. Adair had used the day to bring the feud to its conclusion by running his Ulster Volunteer Force opponents out of the Shankill by attacking their stronghold, the Rex Bar. Calls were made for McCoubrey to resign, although he claimed that he did not know Adair and Stone would be there and that he was not expecting the gun-fire in the paramilitary show of strength that ended the night. Ultimately the council decided not to take any action against McCoubrey, with a motion of censure, brought by APNI, being defeated in the council by unionist votes.

    Remember that this above is not exhaustive they are only a few of the events that we KNOW about. Literally the tip of the berg.

    Unionism and violent loyalism are inextricably linked. They have been for over a century.

    If Turgon is a TUV card carrier then the hypocrisy of his article is literally jaw-dropping.

  • Carl Marks[12.08] Allister did his ‘enemies’ in the DUP a big favour by leaving to set up the utterly vile TUV since it gives cred to the latter. We know well that his attitudes to loyalist or republican violences are shared with most of the DUP, and Robbo has attempted to put a moderate veneer on the duplicity party but we’re not so easily fooled.

  • keano10

    Last week in The Irish News, Newton Emerson lambasted the PSNI for their almost incredulous denial that the UVF were involved in orchestrating the violence in Royal Avenue. He stated that this has been typical of the PSNI’s very strange attitude towards UVF violence in particular this summer. Clearly, the implication is that many UVF members are paid informers for the PSNI and are being protected at all costs.

    Its disgraceful frankly…

  • BifterGreenthumb

    @FDM – “Unionism and violent loyalism are inextricably linked.”

    Certainly agree with you that the DUP and violent loyalism are inextricably linked.

    What really annoys me about the DUP is that they portray themselves as moral and godly people, as “good christians”, and take the moral high ground when criticising Sinn Fein politicians for their involvement in the IRA while they, as you pointed out, were heavily involved in paramilitarism and violence themselves.

    More recently they refused to condemn violent loyalists during the fleg protests and the Ardoyne riots. They refused to take any responsibility for their involvement in starting the fleg protests and tried to make excuses for the rioters by saying it was really the Alliance party’s fault (in the case of the flag protests) or the Parade Commission’s fault (in the case of Ardoyne riots).

    The DUP lack all moral credibility. Instead of having a rational principle guiding their stance on contentious parades such as ‘everyone should be allowed to march’, or ‘no one should be allowed to march’ or ‘an independant body should decide’ or ‘there should be an agreed set of rules which parades must follow’ or whatever they simply believe that Unionist marches should be allowed (even if they offend people) but Republician marches shouldnt be allowed (especially if they offend people).

    The DUP’s brand of Unionism is morally bankrupt…. and yet they have the cheek to lecture everyone about the moral evils of gay marriage and abortion.

  • Morpheus

    Here’s a World in Action documentary about Peter Robinson titled “Peter Robinson – The Hardliner”

    Draw your own conclusions about his past. One thing that has stuck me about this is the opening sequence (1 minute 27 seconds for a screenshot) and it is PR with an Orange Sash on – is he in the OO? Was he?

    1 minute 35 seconds onwards is eye-opening as well.

    He is however a much changed man compared to back then and is to be commended for it.

  • FDM

    Where have all the loyalist paramilitary cheer leaders gone?

    Are they all on holiday, or are they barred from this thread?

    Morpheus 1:37 seconds into the video tells us all you need to know about the complete and utter hypocrisy of the DUP’s attitude to violence. “I was a vigilante from which the UDA was formed” says Peter proudly.

    There you have it.

    So why can’t we have a peace and reconciliation centre again?

  • Keano10[9.47]I read in a biography of Ian Paisley a few years ago[can’t recall title or author] in which a claim was made that Robinson wanted to set a military wing of the DUP so that they wouldn’t be dependent on the existing paramilitary groups for muscle, this was in the aftermath of the UWC strike in 1974. Perhaps the UR was the outcome of that search.

  • Barnshee

    I have (reluctantly) come to the conclusion that the approach by the cops is the way to go. First instincts -sweep them off the streets into jail. But then wee Billy gets hurt/shot and wee Billy`s ma da brothers etc take his place.
    Better let wee Billy and his cohorts place themselves completely in the wrong- catch them in the long grass, expose them to redicule –and make them much easier to deal with next time

  • foyle observer

    Since we’re talking about the DUP and their blatant hypocrisy and inextricable links to paramilitaries, let’s not forgot Mr Gregory Campbell. He also featured in a documentary in the 1980’s which hasn’t half the views on Youtube that it really SHOULD have. In this, whilst loading a gun, he states quite incredibly, that, should the British ever leave the Province, their would be ‘untold loss of life’.

    I really wish he was taken up on this.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The problem is that a lot of unionists think that just because they say in public – often quite genuinely – that the loyalists are/were a bunch of murdering bastards it gets them off the hook.

    It’s not as simple as that.

  • DC

    Come on Turgon don’t tell you didn’t give a wee cheer when the anti-internment march and marchers didn’t get up royal avenue as a result of the loyalist counter protest and associated alleged criminal behaviour.

    in the eyes of those loyalists, they did what needed to be done.

  • Zig70

    The worst thing for me, is the lack of political support for people who live in these paramilitary stained estates. Nearly all the folk I know from my nearby estate are really decent, non political and would like something done about the hoods. One or two, usually with the biggest smiles I suspect wouldn’t mind if I ended up atop a bonfire. It’s not as if you can just move to another leafy suburb to get away from the murals and flags and see you kids grow up with attitudes that you never wanted for them. Is unionism so devoid of positive values, so fearful of losing a battle that hasn’t even started yet, that it can’t tackle the paramilitaries for fear being called lundies? So if you want to see an end to paramilitaries Turgon, then good luck to you, but I’d need more convincing that it isn’t just chest beating before going back to walking under UVF flags without raising a whisper.

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: The problem is that a lot of unionists think that just because they say in public – often quite genuinely – that the loyalists are/were a bunch of murdering bastards it gets them off the hook. It’s not as simple as that.
    Are all unionists on that hook or only the Prods?

  • Reader

    Sorry, I messed up the italics there. I hope this fixes it.

  • Comrade,

    I’m sorry but I just don’t understand what you.mean. Are you saying that people like Turgon who has consistently condemned both the IRA and the UVF and their ilk, over many years, are nevertheless somehow to bear responsibility for the violence and mayhem?

  • Kevsterino

    Joe, I think Comrade is referring to the politicians who talk a good game about reigning in the thugs then do absolutely nothing to put them away. The same folks Turgon was posing his questions to.

  • Fair enough. Kev, and if that it is, I agree 100%.

  • FDM

    Mister_Joe 21 August 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Are you saying that people like Turgon who has consistently condemned both the IRA and the UVF and their ilk, over many years, are nevertheless somehow to bear responsibility for the violence and mayhem?
    If Turgon is a card carrying and signed up member of the TUV then absolutely he has to bear some responsibility for the mayhem. If he votes for them ditto.

    I can’t remember Jim and co. trying to calm the situation down. If anything they have stoked the fabricated grievance narrative leading to these balloons continuing to wreck the place.

    On yesterday no less Jim Allister struggled in vain on the Nolan show to be unequivocal about his condemnation of the UVF as an organisation. Even when asked several times to be clear he refused to do so.

    Turgon’s article is a masterpiece of hypocrisy.

  • between the bridges

    Well it’s obvious some criminals are untouchable, the question is why, a) information their previous/current paymasters don’t want revealed. b) if could harm the ‘peace process’…and as Turgon points out the same is true for the loyalists…

  • DC

    Come on turgon, were you not glad that mr bean and wet flannel didn’t get up royal avenue thanks to Battle Royale – Avenue.

    I do not support violence and would never support it, but when i saw it all break out i just thought ah fuck it fair play as last thing you want is those idiots up royal avenue!

    Turgon – this is for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_6AQA4uzD0

    No Surrender 🙂

  • DC

    Turgon – as you know, one just doesn’t capitulate like that, one doesn’t just hand over ‘Royal Avenue’, Royal Avenue and any capitulation in the face of republicans is a matter of honour


  • DC
  • Seems like someone is tired and emotional again.

  • DC
  • DC

    fuck your royal avenue.

    fuck your capitulation.

    we will not be surrendering!

    capitulation is a matter of honour – no fucking surrender:

  • DC


  • DC

  • DC

    we will not be surrendering, no fucking surrender!!

  • Kevsterino

    Everything is ruined by repetition

  • FDM

    To be fair DC’s Naomi Long panic room night was more entertaining.

    I have changed my mind on the minimum prices for alcohol sales by the way.

  • DC

    yes at least that night i had one or two functioning brain cells 🙂

  • DC


    Leaving my prussian protestant drunken headstaggers to the side my question still stands – were you not glad that the IRA anti-internment rally didn’t get up royal avenue?

    I mean that night I was safely at home, watching of all things the kick off to the bundesliga and bayern munich, i flicked over and saw the news, bbc, i thought those fckn crazy bastards have blocked off royal avenue.

    And then – a few seconds after – once the craziness had been processsed, i just thought that that was brilliant! Brilliant stuff to stop it.

    (Of course, i wouldn’t personally use violence nor attack the police and if i were bothered with all of that so as to be there that night protesting, i would if i could, have pulled people back from engaging in that as far as possible.)

  • Reader

    DC: (Of course, i wouldn’t personally use violence nor attack the police and if i were bothered with all of that so as to be there that night protesting, i would if i could, have pulled people back from engaging in that as far as possible.)
    But a wee Sneaking Regard for the people who did it none the less? It’s great if you can stay out of trouble yourself, but what those guys did was harmful. Like a few too many drinks, it may have felt good at the time, but all that comes at a price.

  • Reader I think that DC’s sneaking regard falls under the term “cognitive dissonance”.

  • Morpheus

    DC: “we will not be surrendering, no fucking surrender!!”

    Out of curiosity who/what will ‘we’ not be surrendering to?