Loyalist paramilitary feud cost £5 million to police, court told
An ongoing loyalist paramilitary feud in Northern Ireland that has claimed the lives of two men this year has cost more than £5 million to police, a court has heard.
The resourcing bill for policing the dispute between factions of the South East Antrim Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was revealed as a 32-year-old man was remanded in custody charged with the murder of one of the feud victims - loyalist George Gilmore.
Robert McMaw appeared in the dock of Belfast Magistrates' Court amid a tight security presence.
His brother - Samuel McMaw - has already been charged with the same crime.
Mr Gilmore, 44, was shot in the neck as he sat in his car in the Pinewood Avenue area of Carrickfergus. He died the following day in hospital.
A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective told district judge Joe Rice: "This is a recent but ongoing loyalist feud involving various factions of the South East Antrim UDA in the Carrickfergus and greater Belfast areas."
The officer added: "It has cost in excess of £5 million to police this matter."
The accused, from Starbog Road in Kilwaughter on the outskirts of Larne, is charged with the murder of Mr Gilmore and the attempted murder of two other men - Steven Boyd and Kelvin Graham - on the same day, March 13.
He faces a further count of possessing a firearm and ammunition - namely a self loading handgun and seven 9mm bullets - with intent to endanger life.
District judge Rice refused his bail application. "Bail is refused on this occasion given the background of a very real feud in the Carrickfergus area," he said.
"Police inquiries are ongoing and there is a risk of further offending and witness intimidation. The court does not feel you are a suitable candidate for bail on this occasion."
Father of one McMaw, dressed in a grey jumper, spoke only once during the short hearing to confirm he understood the charges.
He waved at supporters in the public gallery before being led away to the cells.
Two men have already been charged with Mr Gilmore's murder. McMaw's brother Samuel David McMaw, 29, also of Starbog Road, and Brian Roy McClean, 35, of the Birches in Carrickfergus, face the same four counts.
Two months after his death, Mr Gilmore's friend and fellow loyalist Colin Horner, 35, was shot dead in a supermarket car park in Bangor, a crime also linked to the UDA feud.