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Tuesday, August 16, 2005 

More loyalist killings and aggression in Northern Ireland.

It's about time that attacks by loyalists on Catholics and loyalist feuds were higher up the news agenda. The alleged IRA bank robbery last December and the murder of Robert McCartney were front page news for weeks. These incidents are almost completely ignored:

A man was shot dead as he arrived for work in Belfast yesterday in what appeared to be the latest murder in a loyalist feud which has claimed four lives in the past six weeks.

Two gunmen ambushed the victim, Michael Green, 42, at 8.15am, as he got off his motorbike outside Gilpins furniture store, in Sandy Row, a loyalist heartland in the south of the city. The father of three was shot several times from behind. An ambulance arrived within minutes but he died at the scene.

The LVF blamed the UVF for the murder and although an LVF source denied Mr Green, from Ballysillan in north Belfast, was one of its members, other loyalists claimed he had LVF links.

He is the fourth man to be killed in the feud, which is costing £30,000 a day to police. All three previous murders have also been blamed on the UVF, which is supposed to be observing a ceasefire.

Jameson Lockhart, 25, was shot as he sat in a lorry in east Belfast on July 8; Craig McCausland, 20, was shot in front of his girlfriend and baby in their north Belfast home on July 12; and on July 30 Stephen Paul, a father of four, was shot dead outside his north Belfast home.

The UVF has vowed to wipe out the smaller LVF, which it accuses of terrorising people through drug dealing, but other loyalist sources say there is drug dealing on both sides and the feud is about power and grudges.

If it was a feud between say, the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA, such a happening would be major news. As it's a loyalist feud, no one except the Guardian and Independent cares. The apologists for the Ulster Unionists and "Democratic" Ulster Unionist party in the Daily Telegraph ignore such incidents and only call on the IRA to abandon all activity immediately. Often in these communities, it's the loyalists who are causing friction, not the Republicans. Just one example:

A couple are to leave their County Antrim home after an overnight attack.

Bottles filled with paint were thrown at the house in Tudor Vale in Ahoghill, at 2330 BST on Monday.

Police have said they are treating the attack on the Catholic couple as sectarian. A primary school and Catholic church were also targeted.

Pat McGaughey, who has lived there for eight years, said they feared for their lives. "We are not willing to take a chance on our safety," she said.

"We are going to move, we are going to leave, we'll have to sell our house and go.

But Mrs McGaughey said she felt "nothing has been said" by the church leaders or the politicians to help to end such attacks.

On Tuesday morning, the parish priest of St Mary's Church on the Ballynafie Road in the village discovered that paint had been thrown on the driveway.

There was a similar attack at St Joseph's School in the village.

The DUP Mayor of Ballymena, Tommy Nicholl, condemned the attack and said he sympathised with the McGaughey family.

He called on "all right-thinking people to ensure that this type of activity is brought to an end".

Such weasel words from the DUP Mayor are worthless. Only weeks ago the DUP leader Ian Paisley was demanding that the IRA don "sackcloth and ashes" and produce photographs showing their disarmament. Apologies were also demanded for those who died in bomb attacks. Such measures are designed not only to humiliate the IRA, but also the Catholic community in Northern Ireland. Ian Paisley is the type of fire and brimstone preacher who could be deported under Charles Clarke's new measure for dealing with extremists. Sadly, there'll only be people with brown skin deported, while Ian will be invited to join Mr Blair in a nice cup of tea when he returns from his snorkeling holiday.

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