Man injured in Belfast attack thought linked to loyalist feud

A man has been seriously injured in a shooting in north Belfast in what appears to be a further escalation of the feud between…

A man has been seriously injured in a shooting in north Belfast in what appears to be a further escalation of the feud between the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The feud has cost seven people their lives since August.

The man was working in McMasters butcher's shop in the Oldpark Road around noon when a gunman is believed to have entered the premises and shot him in the chest.

The victim, who is reported to be in his 30s and from the Whitewell area in the north of the city, was rushed to the nearby Mater Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. He was described as "seriously ill but stable" last night.

Mr Billy Hutchinson, a senior member of the Progressive Unionist Party, which has links to the UVF, said the injured man was a member of his party but had resigned 18 months ago. While the RUC said it had not yet established a motive for the shooting, the attack has been linked to the ongoing feud which has left four people dead in north Belfast in the last five days.


On Saturday, Mr David Greer (21), a member of the UDA, was shot dead following disturbances in the Mountcollyer Street area. His death was blamed on the UVF.

On Tuesday, a 63-year-old PUP worker, Mr Bertie Rice, was killed in an apparent reprisal attack.

Several hours later, a senior former UDA commander and member of the Ulster Democratic Party, Mr Tommy English, was shot dead in his north Belfast home. Less than 24 hours later, a 26-year-old UVF member, Mr Mark Quail, died when gunmen, believed to be from the UDA's south east Antrim brigade, burst into his flat in the Rathcoole Estate.

Politicians and community leaders condemned the latest attack, with the Northern Secretary, Mr Peter Mandelson, describing it as "deplorable". Speaking in Dublin, the RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said security would be stepped up in north Belfast as a result of the escalating feud.

The PUP's Mr David Ervine said it was incumbent on people with responsibility in the organisations to bring the blood-letting to an end.

"There are not two groups of people cheering the UVF and on the other side cheering the UDA. The vast majority of society is absolutely dismayed," Mr Ervine added.

Following a meeting with senior police officers in the area, the DUP MLA for north Belfast, Mr Nigel Dodds, described the latest attack as an "appalling crime" which would make it even more difficult to bring the feud, which has previously centred on west Belfast's Shankill area, to an end.

He had, however, been reassured by the RUC that no budgetary or political constraints would impede sufficient numbers of police and army to be deployed to achieve just that, Mr Dodds concluded.