Police are hunting up to five men, one of whom was carrying a suspected gun, after windows were smashed at a house in north Belfast during the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police received a report of criminal damage at a residential property in the Etna Drive area of the city.
At around 1.55am a man inside his home was alerted by a noise outside. He saw four or five men in dark clothing, with one of them armed with a suspected firearm.
It was reported the front window of the house had been smashed and the windows of a car parked in the area also damaged.
Detective Sergeant Corrigan said: “Enquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“We would appeal to anyone with any information to contact detectives on 101, quoting reference number 184 10/11/19. Alternatively information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story
Judge Neil Rafferty told the pair it was time for them to “grow up”
A man who was caught with balacavas and UDA documents was jailed yesterday as a judge told him and his co-accused to “grow up”.
Judge Neil Rafferty branded those who persist in living in the terrorist past as “wrong-headed”.
He told Desmond John William Lundy, 41, and 52-year-old Brian David Dean: “Both of you have reached an age where it is long since past time for you to grow up and put away childish things.
“Such days are in the past and in the past [they] must remain.
“Terrorism, from whatever extreme, from either side, is a scourge and blight on our community.”
The pair had initially been charged with being, or proporting to be members of the UDA but this was not proceeded with after they pleaded guilty to possessing articles and documents useful to terrorists.
They included balaclavas, gloves and jackets with UDA emblems and documents, some to be used in a form of “swearing-in” ceremony “for those foolish to consider joining such an organisation”.
Judge Rafferty told Belfast Crown Court some of the documents were “almost laughable” in that the section identifying the UDA and UFF was left out but which was something even “a child would have made out”.
Prosecutor Sam Magee said Lundy and Dean’s fingerprints were found on the documents which included a “Code of Conduct of the Ulster Defence Association”, a “Plegde of Allegence” to the terror group and a copy of the “Monkstown Agreement”– allegedly between the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commandos.
Lundy, of Abbey Ring, Holywood, Co Down, who had possessed 10 balaclavas, 18 pairs of black gloves and multiple UDA emblemed jackets, in addition to the documents, was sentenced to 15 months, split equally between custody and parole.
Dean, from Ainsworth Avenue, West Belfast, who had three balaclavas and documents received a nine-month prison term suspended for three years.
Counsel for both men said the offences dated back to September 2016 when police officers raided their homes and there was “no tangible reason” for the delay, described as “huge” in dealing with their case.
With many thanks to: Belfast Live and Michael Donnelly for the original story
THIS letter appeared in the Belfast News Letter this week drafted by non other Jamie Bryson #UVF and I thought my readers would be interested in having a wee look
The recent publication of the Independent Reporting Commission (IRC) report is notable due to the absence of even a passing reference to the IRA.
Challenged about this, panel member Monica McWilliams was quoted in the News Letter as saying “well that is a political issue”.
The clear imbalance creates the feeling amongst loyalist communities that there is a two tier policing system; one which is designed to use a broad policing brush to criminalise loyalism, whilst using strategic policing engagement— such as sharing panels with alleged senior IRA members — to ‘normalise’ the continued existence of the IRA.
There is no dispute that there is low level crime within loyalist communities, however, as is even acknowledged by the IRC report, this is not widespread. The report makes clear that in relation to loyalist paramilitary groups most members are “not involved in day-to-day criminal activity”.
The report also details that there 88 organised crime gangs in Northern Ireland, yet to listen to nationalists and even some policing commentary you would think crime is solely something linked to loyalism.
Crime within loyalist communities is minor in comparison to the high-level white collar crime of the IRA.
For example, millions of pounds of illegal funds have been filtered by the IRA into front businesses as part of a large scale money laundering operation. Despite the wide suite of powers available to the PCTF and NCA, there has been no effort to trace these illicit funds or to deploy civil recovery powers against those fronting up ‘legitimate’ business ventures funded by dirty IRA money. Why not?
This all feeds the perception that the Fresh Start agreement, born out of the IRA murder of Kevin McGuigan, created an environment designed not to target the existing structures of the IRA, but rather to politically normalise the continued existence of the republican terror group whilst criminalising loyalism because it is politically expedient.
The law must be applied equally and there are many within the unionist/loyalist community deeply concerned that here we have a so called ‘Paramilitary Crime Task Force’ which dares not utter the word IRA let alone pursue their financial crime.
The PSNI need to explain this approach.
Jamie Bryson, Editor Unionist Voice, Donaghadee
With many thanks to the: The Belfast Telegraph for the original story
Máiría Cahill was speaking after the PSNI affirmed that the 2015 government finding that the IRA Army Council was overseeing Sinn Fein strategy still remains unchanged in 2019.
The government report, published in 2015, concluded that the second largest political party in NI continued to be overseen by the deadliest terror group of the Troubles, which although much reduced in scale and “committed to the peace process”, still has “specific” departments and “regional command structures”, gathers intelligence, retains weapons and may engage in “isolated violence” including murder.
The PSNI confirmed its current assessment to the News Letter after the latest paramilitary monitoring panel, the Independent Review Commission (IRC), failed to mention either the IRA or INLA in its report this week.
Ms Cahill comes from a strong Belfast republican family, her great-uncle Joe Cahill being one of the founders of the Provisional IRA and a member of the IRA Army Council into the 1990s.
She created national headlines in 2010 when she claimed she was raped as a teenager by an IRA man and that the republican movement subsequently went to serious lengths to cover it up.
She went on to become a senator for the Irish Labour Party and later served as a councillor for the SDLP.
After reading the renewed assessment of the role of the IRA Army Council in NI politics, she says the public deserves clear answers from Sinn Fein.
“The last time this was reported, Sinn Fein were at pains to contradict the PSNI assessment saying the IRA had gone away, which was largely dismissed,” she told the News Letter.
“An assessment from the PSNI that in 2019 nothing has changed, and that an illegal organisation is overseeing strategy for a supposed democratic political party comes as no surprise to me, but the real surprise is that in any other normal society, the political party would be under pressure to end this relationship and cast the spectre of the graying old toxic men of its Army Council into the shadows where they belong.
“The fact that this relationship exists means that a reasonable question to ask would be that every time Sinn Fein took a decision in the Stormont Executive, did they effectively bounce this to the IRA Army Council to seek permission?
“The public have a right to know, given they elect them. And if so, which sanctions will be put in place in advance of the next Executive to stop unelected shadowy figures having access to confidential government information?
“Did the IRA tell Sinn Fein to bring the Executive down because it didn’t suit their ‘overseeing of Sinn Fein strategy’? Those are the questions that should be asked.”
Sinn Fein has not offered any response to her questions.
With many thanks to the: Belfast News Letter and Philip Bradfield for the original story