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UDA estate is price of ingrained criminality, says DUP's Sammy Wilson

Published 02/12/2016

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin

Sammy Wilson says a Northern Ireland housing estate is under a degree of control by the UDA describing it as a price to pay for allowing "this type of criminality to become ingrained in our society".

It comes as the PSNI revealed £1.6million had been spent policing a bitter dispute in the loyalist estate in Carrickfergus.

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said police were extremely concerned about the situation in the Castlemara estate and called for mediation.

He said the dispute involved the South East Antrim UDA and a local family.

The officer said 17 people had been arrested and nine people charged in relation to the situation since May.

Mr Martin said the UDA group was a sizeable organisation comprising "several hundred" members.

He said a police presence was required in the estate on a daily basis - something that was draining funds and diverting resources from other priorities.

In October, a court heard that up to 60 people have received death threats linked to the ongoing feud in Carrickfergus.

Speaking to the BBC, East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the UDA had "some degree of control and massive influence" over the estate.

He said: "Police have been landed with this bill as it their duty to protect life regardless of the individuals involved and there is always the threat to bystanders being caught in the middle.

"Police operations have had positive results. Guns have been taken out of circulation, drugs have been seized.

"I believe criminal activities of those involved have been disrupted.

"But it can't go on."

He also said mediation would not work, adding: "Police have to recognise, if the law is being broken - in terms of low-level intimidatory marches or worse than than - those people have to be brought to book and put before the courts.

"I don't believe the two factions will talk to anybody - let alone each other.

"Mediation is never going to help unfortunately this is the price we pay for allowing this type of criminality to become ingrained in our society."

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