PSNI allow UDA mob to congregate in Ardoyne area
North Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Margaret McClenaghan today accused the PSNI of allowing hundreds of UDA members many carrying baseball bats and other weapons to congregate in nationalist area adjacent to Ardoyne last night. She said that the PSNI strategy was about "protecting one faction of the UDA while trying not to upset the other".
Cllr. McClenaghan said:
"Last night the PSNI allowed hundreds of UDA members many carrying baseball bats and other weapons to leave Ballysillan and set off to confront rival UDA members in Westland. Instead of preventing the march leaving Ballysillan the PSNI decided to allow the UDA mob to leave before stopping them in the heart of a nationalist area adjacent to Ardoyne before they reached the loyalist Westland estate.
"A number of nationalist people fearful of the mob fled from their homes while the PSNI stood back and watched. Only for the restraint and discipline shown by the nationalist community in Ardoyne a potentially serious situation was averted and I would prise them for their conduct.
"But that does not take away from the complete failure of the PSNI operation last night in North Belfast. The strategy was clearly about protecting one faction of the UDA while trying not to upset the other. The victims in all of this was the nationalist community in Ardoyne who were expected to tolerate a unionist paramilitary mob congregating in their area. This is completely unacceptable.
"People in wider society are watching this latest unfolding episode within the UDA with a mixture of disbelief and horror. People don't particularly care which faction of the UDA is running its drug empire or conducting sectarian or racist attacks. What people want to hear from the UDA is that they are winding up their operations, ending their attacks and finally engaging with the IICD." ENDS