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Johnny Adair a deluded megalomaniac still wallowing in self-denial

By Jim McDowell

Published 04/09/2015

Johnny Adair is ‘every inch the steroid king of the Shankill’
Johnny Adair is ‘every inch the steroid king of the Shankill’

I've got a bottle of cheap - very cheap - plonk in the house.

'Mad Dog' Adair's on the label. There's also a UFF logo with the clenched right fist and the Latin motto Feriens Tego - 'Striking, I Defend'.

Adair is, of course, the centrepiece of the 'C Coy Champagne' label.

'Striking' a pose, as usual.

There he is, biceps bulging, shaven bald head gleaming, eyebrows knit, eyes menacingly slit - every inch the steroid king of the Shankill.

The reason for the celebratory 'champagne'? Adair getting out of jail in May 2002.

And the reason for mentioning it here? It wasn't the start of Adair's dangerous self-delusion.

But it was certainly a very significant symptom of it.

For Adair was furious with the go-between Del Boy-style 'fixer' from whom he'd ordered cases of the plonk from behind prison bars for his big 'out-of-jail' party in the lower Shankill estate.

It was the 'Mad Dog' label at which he bared his teeth.

I asked him why. Poker-faced, he replied: "I'm a social worker now."

Self-delusion run mad - or just 'Mad Dog'?

And that was way back in 2002, mind. But 13 years later, on the Nolan show, he still wallowed in self-delusion, and self-denial which was chokingly hard to swallow, not just for the families of the UFF/UDA's victims, but for someone, like me, who went head-to-head with Adair many times.

He may still be kidding himself.

But he's no longer kidding anyone else. He was a ruthless, sectarian, racist terror and gangster godfather who was interested in only one cause - himself.

It was not for nothing that the press - and the police who eventually nailed and jailed him (and I personally know and admire two of them) - turned his own warped mantra on its head.

"My only crime is loyalty," Mad Dog once howled.

"His only loyalty is crime," came the biting, and accurate, response.

Because here again this week was a drug-dealing 'Grim Reaper' of death - remember the grim and gloating mural in the heart of Adair's one-time lair on the lower Shankill? - posing and posturing as some kind of 'defender' of the Protestant people against an IRA onslaught, and claiming that the killing of innocent Catholics (the Kennedy Way bin yard onslaught for instance) helped bring 'the conflict' to an end.

But a salient fact was that even within the so-called UDA Inner Circle - on which he and his clown of a 'consiglieri', John 'Coco' White, both sat - Adair was renowned as a 'chocolate soldier'.

He was actually one of those 'Brigadiers of Bling' he pilloried so pointedly on Nolan - a 'brigadier' who gave the orders to shoot, but rarely, if ever, pulled the trigger themselves (think also Jim 'Doris Day' Gray here, or Andre 'Bookies' Brigadier' Shoukri).

And when Adair's mob murdered south east Antrim 'Brigadier' John 'Grug' Gregg during yet another internecine loyalist feud, WHO ordered that - but WHO fired the bullets?

That is why serial killers like Michael Stone spurned and despised Adair. Both were in prison at the same time.

But Stone later told me there was barbed wire in the blood between both, and it almost came to blows behind bars.

Why? It was Stone who also revealed that when Adair couldn't get enough human steroids smuggled into jail to bulk up on his body-building, he turned to the veterinary cattle booster Clenbuterol, known as 'Angel Dust'.

"On the wings," recalled a smirking Stone later, "that earned him the moniker 'Mad Cow', rather than 'Mad Dog'".

Indeed, Stone, an angel of death himself, decried Adair's hard man posturing as "pathetic".

As were his self-aggrandising pronouncements on Nolan, which were also laced with lies.

And there was one big lie in particular.

He denied he was forced out of Belfast, unlike his then wife Gina and the rest of his 'C Coy' crew during the mainstream UDA purge known as 'The Flight of the Pearls' on the Shankill.

In fact, he wasn't on the Shankill to be forced out. Instead, in 2005, he was whisked out of HMP Maghaberry and helicoptered out of RAF Aldergrove to join what was left of his motley mob who had fled to England.

For his own safety. And he didn't bleat or blurt in protest then.

He sucked it up. And flew, rather than ran, away.

And all that stuff, too, about former 'comrades' turning tout.

Remember the night the Provos tried to ping Adair with a dodgy gun at a UB40 concert in Botanic Gardens?

His wannabe assassin only winged him. But where did Johnny scarper to? Not the nearest cop shops on the nearby Lisburn Road or Donegall Pass.

His now UDA detractors say he ran to his own 'handlers' - at a police station in downtown Belfast.

Given that alleged connection, is it any surprise that a team of republican whackos planning to whack him in his modern-day bunker in Troon were rumbled by Scottish police?

I started this piece with how Adair always fancied himself as a 'Champagne Charlie'.

But once again this week, in his insatiable lust for power, propaganda and publicity, megalomaniac 'Mad Dog' has simply exposed himself, again, for what he really is.

A proper, still self-delusioned, Charlie…

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