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Loyalist feud fears mount after shots are fired at house

By Victoria O'Hara

Tensions remained high in Carrickfergus today after a gun attack sparked fears of a loyalist feud escalating in Co Antrim.

Shots were fired through the living room window of a house at Glenfield Walk, in the town yesterday.

Two women and four young children were in the house when the shooting took place just after midnight.

And reports were also emerging last night that groups of men had come into Larne and held shows of strength in two bars at the weekend.

However, police said they had not received any reports of such activity.

On Saturday a house in the town's Castlemara Estate was also pipe-bombed.

No one was injured in either attack.

However, the attacks are being linked to a feud between so-called mainstream UDA members and those in the South East Antrim faction.

Saturday's device exploded at the home of a member of the Beyond Conflict group, in the Cairnhill Walk area of Castlemara Estate, which is linked to a breakaway UDA faction in south east Antrim.

Police were also sent in large numbers to the town's Marine Highway, where large crowds of loyalists had gathered.

They later made two arrests.

Police confirmed the pipe bombing was being treated as possibly connected to the warring UDA camps.

In July a police officer was shot in the estate during a loyalist stand-off.

Frankie Gallagher of the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), said the UDA was not responsible for Saturday night's attack.

The town has been blighted by the fighting between mainstream UDA men and members of the organisation's South East Antrim unit.

The latest attack came as the organisation faces growing pressure to decommission its weapons or lose £1.2 million in conflict transformation money planned for loyalist communities.

A 60-day deadline to disarm, set by Northern Ireland Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie, comes to an end next month.

The MP for the area, Sammy Wilson, said the ongoing UDA violence should prevent funding being allocated to loyalist initiatives.

"I haven't yet heard how this money, which is supposed to be going to help these areas, is actually going to be spent," he said.

"I would like to know how exactly the money will benefit these areas.

"But the one thing I do know is that this kind of activity is not going to benefit these areas and only scares people away," Mr Wilson added.

Belfast Telegraph


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