Johnny Adair will be shot dead if he returns to Northern Ireland. That was the chilling prediction made by UDA chief Jackie McDonald yesterday.
The veteran loyalist says that even though the UDA is busy getting rid of its guns the threat against Adair, currently in Scotland, and other loyalist exiles remains.
Speaking from his Sandy Row office, McDonald also accused dissident republicans of flooding loyalist areas with drugs.
He explained how ex-Provos are teaming up with former loyalists to carve out crime empires.
And he revealed that his commitment to peace has led to him being the target of a smear campaign from within his own community.
“Johnny Adair is still under a death sentence,” said McDonald.
“People like him, John White, Alex Kerr, they can't come back even though the UDA and UVF have decommissioned.
“It wouldn't be safe for them.
“The day Adair's crew shot up the Rex Bar was the beginning of the end for him. Never mind the UDA, the UVF was never going to let him get away with that.
“And then you have all the other criminals who he stroked and took thousands of pounds off. They want him dead too,” added McDonald.
“Johnny Adair was the worst thing ever to happen to the UDA because all he was interested in was making money.”
Last month the UDA started decommissioning its weapons, but not all of its members are supportive of the move.
Some argue that it leaves loyalist areas defenceless, especially in light of an increased dissident republican threat.But McDonald sees the big-gest danger to loyalism as coming from the inside, not the outside. He explained: “The biggest thr-eat to loyalism is from crime gangs. Gangsters with paramilitary experience, who have used guns and in some cases done time in jail.
“They want to fill their pockets and they aren't bothered about working with ex-Provos and the like, who are doing the same on the other side.
“I know for a fact that dissident republicans, particularly those in Ardoyne, are bringing drugs into loyalist areas.
“But it's not down to the UDA to deal with stuff like this any longer, it's a matter for a police,” said McDonald.
“If anyone has information on drugs and crime they should pass it onto the PSNI. There is nothing wrong with that.”
McDonald also admitted that his support for UDA decommissioning has earned him some enemies within the organisation.