Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly blames 'armed gangs' for extortion of contractors in Belfast

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly
Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly has said that criminal gangs were behind recent intimidation and extortion attempts of contractors in north Belfast.

Mr Kelly was speaking after a scaffolding firm run by a Protestant businessman from Carrickfergus was told to leave the Ardoyne area on Tuesday, September 17, for their own safety.

DB Scaffolding owner David Brown was told his men's lives were not at risk but that they needed to "get out of Dodge" as quickly as possible.

North Belfast MLA Mr Kelly revealed that in recent days men claiming to be from the Action Against Drugs gang had threatened workers in the New Lodge area in an attempt to extort at least two contractors.

“I absolutely condemn those responsible for these despicable and criminal actions. This is no more than stealing money from people providing services to the local community," Mr Kelly said.

“Workers trying to make a living should be free from intimidation and harassment. These armed gangs are preying on the community.

“They should desist now and end their campaigns of intimidation and extortion of workers to fill their own pockets.

“Anyone with information on these criminal gangs should bring that forward immediately to the police.”

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