Wednesday, May 31, 2006


UVF man shot in attack

Road seeled off One of the biggest new stories of the moment concerns the shooting of leading Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary chief Mark Haddock who has been left in a critical condition.

The Ulster Unionists must be feeling very uneasy about this incident after their widely criticised move to align themselves with the Progressive Unionist Party, the political wing of the UVF.

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs Jnr has already condemned those behind the shooting:

"The perpetrators of this barbaric act must be swiftly taken off the streets and subjected to the fullest rigour of the law."

The DUP's Nigel Dodds likewise hit out at those responsible while Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly suggested it could have been state sponsored:

"An inquiry into collusion between the Mount Vernon UVF and the Special Branch is currently being conducted by the Police Ombudsman and is due to be published next month.

"Mark Haddock is at the centre of this inquiry. Given this many people will be rightly suspicious of both the timing and the motivation behind this shooting.

"There is a clear pattern of former British agents being killed in circumstances like this just as allegations of collusion or other activities are about to be exposed, as was the case of those involved in the murder of Pat Finucane."

I do believe myself that there are elements within British Intelligence who want the peace process to fail despite the efforts of Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern. With that being the case I don't regard it as beyond the realms of possibility that this could have been conducted with backing from elements within the British state.

After all, if this man dies and the UVF are found to be involved in some way, it will be a real blow for the prospect of reviving devolution since the DUP would be left in a very comfortable position. In contrast, the UUP could face political meltdown. The DUP wouldn't have to alter their present strategy.

Whether it was or wasn't state sponsored, it remains clear that incidents like this leave Reg Empey and his party looking very exposed and it makes his decision to align his party with the PUP appear even more foolish.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out.


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