Belfast Telegraph

'Cut the crap - you think anyone in the country believes you?' Nolan and Bryson clash over UVF threats

By Jonathan Bell

Stephen Nolan and loyalist Jamie Bryson have clashed on the radio over the UVF threats in Cantrell Close, with the broadcaster at one point venting his frustration telling the blogger to "cut the crap".

During a discussion on the presenter's Radio Ulster Show, Mr Bryson was asked if the UVF would condemn the threats which forced four families to leave their homes.

The blogger has repeatedly said the organisation was not behind the threats.

Mr Bryson, stressed he was only acting as a go-between for mediators and the terrorist organisation, stressing he was not a member of the UVF or had held direct discussions with its members or leadership.

"Let's follow the logic of that through," he said to Mr Nolan when asked if the group would condemn the threats.

"Every time there's a fight in the street, is the Nolan show going to phone me up to contact mediators to ask them to contact UVF to ask if they were involved?" he said

"Would they have to arbitrate on every incident?"

"Cut the crap," Mr Nolan cut in, "let's just cut the crap - everyone in Northern Ireland knows how to read between the lines on what you are saying.

"I would dare say you are quite close to thinking of the UVF, are they going to condemn the threats?"

Mr Bryson responded: "The UVF have made their position quite clear. How many times must they have to say it?

"How can I make a decision for the UVF? That is absurd."

The BBC presenter was amazed Mr Bryson, who rose to prominence during the Belfast flag protests, could not get a message to the group.

"My goodness chief mediator," he said, "You can't get a message to the UVF can you? You think anyone in this country believes you?"

Mr Bryson responded: "Were the UVF to ask my advice if they should issue another statement I would say no. That is absurd it would mean they would have to issue a statement every week arbitrating on every minor thing."

During the course of the debate, Mr Bryson said Sinn Fein was the "genesis" of the UVF being blamed. Mr Nolan said it was not the republican party which placed the flags around the housing estate, to which Mr Bryson pointed out they were "commemorative UVF flags".

"They are flags that say UVF on them full stop," responded Mr Nolan, "they are flags which say UVF in a shared housing area full stop."

"It was all about 'let's get east Belfast UVF," said Mr Bryson, "they are hardly going to sue."

Asked if he supported shared housing, Mr Bryson described it as a "loaded question". He said that if people wanted to live together it was a "good thing".

"But to lump together as part of a political agenda on the shift of electoral patterns is wrong," he said, "it is about changing electoral demographics."

During the debate, Mr Bryson also suggested Nolan was trying to imply he was in direct contact with UVF commanders.

"And you would have to get up very early in the morning to catch me out," he said.

"I got up very early this morning," responded Mr Nolan.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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