Victim’s relatives demand ‘punishment’ beating for out-of-control bully
The latest assault occurred last week near the Fern Lodge pub on the edge of the Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey.
Gable walls adjacent to the bar were the scene of a mural dispute between the rival paramilitary gangs last summer.
Loyalist sources explained how a veteran UVF member who had been in the Fern Lodge was assaulted as he walked home by a drugged-up SEA UDA thug.
The victim, who is in his late 60s, was no match for his attacker, a convicted rioter half his age.
“The fella who got beat up is a pensioner from a big UVF family. He is well-respected around Rathcoole and never causes any trouble. He was left in a bad way and needed an ambulance to take him to hospital,” said our source.
“The bully who attacked him is the opposite. He runs around off his head on drugs and has a reputation for hitting people who are physically weaker than him. If he wasn’t in the UDA, he would have been run out of Rathcoole years ago.”
The veteran UVF member’s furious family are refusing to let the matter go and are demanding showdown talks with SEA UDA leader Gary Fisher.
“They want the rioter who beat their elderly relative to be given a punishment beating,” added a loyalist insider.
“Fisher would normally never give in, but he may have no choice because this is the second time one of his men has attacked a UVF member in the past month.”
There has been a complete breakdown in UVF-SEA UDA relations in the Rathcoole estate recently, centring on a series of successful drugs raids by the PSNI.
The SEA UDA has seen its hugely profitable cocaine rackets disrupted by a series of arrests, including that of its drugs chief William ‘Duck’ McTaggart, who was jailed for dealing before Christmas.
The terror gang has blamed the UVF for tipping off police in return for continued government funding of community projects it backs — a claim denied by its leaders.
The situation came to a head last month when the SEA UDA’s deposed Rathcoole commander drunkenly punched a senior UVF member outside his house.
Earlier that night, the same loyalist and a relative were involved in an assault on a 13-year-old boy.
The attack on the UVF figure broke a deal between the gangs, known as the Monkstown Agreement, that bans rival members calling to each other’s homes to settle disputes. Despite this, Gary Fisher is refusing to punish his out-of-control member — a move that has infuriated the UVF.
Our loyalist source added: “You could cut the tension between both groups with a knife at the minute. There is no danger of them shooting each other, but hardly a week goes by now without some sort of argument or fight. For the sake of the local community, this needs to stop — now.”