Terrorists Given Free Reign to Murder Claim; since the Good Friday Agreement Was Signed in 1998 There Have Been over 2,000 Paramilitary Crimes Committed, Including 66 Murders and over 1,600 Bombings and Shootings. Reporters STEPHEN DEMPSTER and GEMMA MURRAY Have Spoken to Victims Who Claim the Government Is Turning a Blind Eye to Attacks and Some Who Allege Pro-Agreement Paramilitary and Police Collusion to Silence Them

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), March 24, 2001 | Go to article overview

Terrorists Given Free Reign to Murder Claim; since the Good Friday Agreement Was Signed in 1998 There Have Been over 2,000 Paramilitary Crimes Committed, Including 66 Murders and over 1,600 Bombings and Shootings. Reporters STEPHEN DEMPSTER and GEMMA MURRAY Have Spoken to Victims Who Claim the Government Is Turning a Blind Eye to Attacks and Some Who Allege Pro-Agreement Paramilitary and Police Collusion to Silence Them


Byline: STEPHEN DEMPSTER and GEMMA MURRAY

ANTI-Agreement loyalists claim supposedly pro-Agreement terrorists have been given free-reign to silence or kill them.

Several prominent figures who have supported the peace process but questioned the Good Friday Agreement say they are bearing the brunt of a campaign of intimidation and murder.

People like LVF negotiator, Pastor Kenny McClinton, former PUP activist Jackie Mahood and others have been on the receiving end of murder bids which they allege the UVF has been able to carry out without fear of conviction.

Though they are on record as backing peace and helped negotiate the LVF and UVF ceasefires respectively, both men have been targeted by former associates.

Others, like North Belfast man Tommy Stewart, who walked away from the UVF after a fall out over the peace process have been killed.

These loyalists believe collusion between the UVF and some in the upper ranks of the police and Government has taken place in an effort to shut them up.

They are backing calls by the relatives of victims for a public inquiry into a number of deaths, carried out by the UVF in particular, and believe such an inquiry should address their claims.

During the course of interviews for these stories, a reporter witnessed firsthand one source - who has been targeted - being tracked for two hours by undercover police, even though he is not a paramilitary.

Likewise another loyalist, Mr McClinton, said he his constantly under surveillance, his phone is tapped and computer bugged.

A born-again Christian, he said though he is only guilty of querying the Agreement his family has been subjected to constant harassment.

He alleges ''a pattern of oppression'', against him and others, began to emerge in the mid-90s after the loyalist ceasefires.

Mr McClinton said: ''It seemed that the Protestant and loyalist people targeted were not fully persuaded in the wisdom and prudence of the peace process. We were all dissenting at a time when dissension was not seen as a healthy thing.''

He claimed that from that time on a number of ''violent murders, assassinations, attempted murders started taking place'' allegedly by the UVF.

''The people who were being attacked were known to be vociferous speakers against the Agreement.''

He added: ''I believe there are a lot of good RUC officers on the ground but they are not allowed to do their jobs. But some in higher places haven't seemed to have too much interest in pursuing the full rigors of law and order.''

Mr McClinton also said he has experienced black propaganda and oppression from loyalists and the NIO.

He claims an assassination attempt on him was not fully investigated and his home was raided by police officers ''unnecessarily''. …

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Terrorists Given Free Reign to Murder Claim; since the Good Friday Agreement Was Signed in 1998 There Have Been over 2,000 Paramilitary Crimes Committed, Including 66 Murders and over 1,600 Bombings and Shootings. Reporters STEPHEN DEMPSTER and GEMMA MURRAY Have Spoken to Victims Who Claim the Government Is Turning a Blind Eye to Attacks and Some Who Allege Pro-Agreement Paramilitary and Police Collusion to Silence Them
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