Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Loyalist tensions rise in wake of pipe bomb blast

Fears of a fresh outbreak of loyalist violence were rising last night after a pipe bomb attack on a home in Carrickfergus.

The device was hurled at the property in the Carnhill Walk area of the Castlemara Estate - where a police officer was shot during a loyalist stand-off in July - on Saturday night.

Although no-one was injured in the incident, slight damage was caused to the front of the home, which is close to a children's play area.

Police later made two arrests when a group of men gathered in the Marine Highway area of the town.

This latest attack was blamed on members of the UDA.

Frankie Gallagher, of the UDA- linked Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), denied the group was behind the pipe-bombing.

He said: "This attack was not sanctioned by the UDA and we condemn all acts of violence. It is up to the police to take effective action on these matters.

"We would welcome a meeting with the police to resolve these issues and also to discuss the intimidation which has been going on in this area (recently).

"There is no place for violence in our society and we are totally opposed to it. We would call on anyone with information on attacks of this nature to contact police."

But the Beyond Conflict group, which represents the south east Antrim faction, blamed supporters of the mainstream UDA for the bombing.

A spokesman added: "I would ask the Inner Council leaders to call off these thugs who carried out this attack and let people in south east Antrim live in peace.

"The man who lives in this house is one of a number of men who were informed by the PSNI in recent weeks that he is on an Inner Council death list."

Carrickfergus Mayor David Hillditch has appealed for calm in the area, adding: "I would urge these people to think about what they are doing and to desist from their violent actions in Carrickfergus."

Police were last night continuing to maintain a strong presence in the area.

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