Belfast Telegraph

‘Dregs of loyalism’ behind barrage of bricks

Shutters were put on one house following the attacks by loyalist terror gang
Shutters were put on one house following the attacks by loyalist terror gang

By Ciaran Barnes

The South East Antrim UDA faction based in Newtownards is viewed as "the dregs of loyalism" by other paramilitaries.

Twenty miles away from the brigade area's Rathcoole estate heartland, it exists only as a satellite crime gang. It has its uses though, mainly extorting drug dealers and sending money - and sometimes members - up to Carrickfergus to act as back-up during feuds in the town.

In May 2017, this Newtownards faction, which numbers no more than 40, shot dead loyalist Colin Horner who had clashed with the South East Antrim UDA.

He was living in Bangor at the time, having fled his Carrickfergus home under threat from the terror gang.

Horner was friends with renegade UDA leader Geordie Gilmore, taking his pal's side in a dispute that would ultimately cost both their lives.

Several Newtownards loyalists are currently before the courts charged with Horner's murder, while a Carrickfergus man, 'Scotch' Brian McLean, who is accused of murdering Gilmore, has a bail address in Newtownards.

Wednesday's house attacks in Newtownards by the South East Antrim UDA centre on a personal dispute and ended up with bricks and broken glass narrowly missing a baby sleeping in a pram. That will hardly worry its leader in the town, who has the reputation of an alcoholic and woman beater.

The thugs he commands are not much better - they include a suspected rapist, convicted drug dealers and burglars.

"The dregs of loyalism" is how they are described by the rival UVF and mainstream UDA - a withering put-down given the chequered behaviour of both these groups.

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