SHANKILL ANGER AS BODY IS UNCOVERED
Over a hundred women and children have blocked the lower part of the
Shankill Road in west Belfast this Friday evening to demonstrate
against the terror and violence being directed by the unionist
paramilitary UDA against their own community.
The protests have followed the discovery of the body of young UDA man
McCullough had been exiled to England since February as part of the
internal UDA feud between the 'mainstream' UDA and supporters of exiled
Shankill gangleader, Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair. He has been described as
significant loyalist and had been known as Adair's 'military commander'
in the Lower Shankill.
McCullough had been missing from his home in the Shankill area of west
Belfast since Wednesday of last week. He had recently returned to the
North on the understanding that a death threat against him had been
His body was this evening removed from a shallow grave at Mallusk
outside Belfas so a post-mortem could take place. The UDA, using its
UFF cover name, finally admitted the murder on Thursday following the
discovery of the body. Two people have now been arrested in connection
with the killing.
The status of the recently professed UDA "ceasefire" had again
into question following a pipe bomb attack on the home of a prison
warden in Holywood, County Down, last week. The device was left upon
the outside windowsill and exploded, causing damage to the living room.
Questions are now being raised over the future of the Loyalist
Commission, which includes church and political figures and was
intended to work as a liaison with paramilitary groups.
The women protesting tonight say attacks on their homes have increased
since Adair's faction were forced into exile.
They say they fear for their own families who have also been exiled by
the new UDA gang operating on the Shankill. They called on UDA leaders
to allow their families return and to remove their members currently
controlling their area.
"The community is living in fear," one woman said, accusing
the UDA of
abducting children in the area.
"Things have got worse under the new management," said another,
expressing anger that the UDA had apparently lured Mr McCullough to his
His killers reportedly shared a meal with the 21-year-old an hour
before killing him.
He is said to have been collected by two prominent UDA figures at his
Denmark Street home on Wednesday May 28 (one has been identified as
involved in the killing of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane). At least one
of the two senior members is known to have been aligned with the
'mainstream' UDA during feuding earlier in the year.
As he left his home, his mother asked him if he was safe in the company
of the two UDA leaders. He is said to have assured her that he was in
It is understood that the three then travelled to Templepatrick where
they had a meal. Shankill residents believe he was then handed over
to supporters of former UDA 'brigadier' John Gregg, who tortured and
Gregg's murder in February by Adair's gang brought the feud to its
climax and led to the mass expulsions on the Shankill Road.
Two months ago, McCullough began to broker a deal with the mainstream
UDA to allow him to return home. Part of that deal is understood to
have involved the 21-year-old carrying out a gun attack on the
Manchester home of Adair's wife, Gina.
Mr McCullough is understood to have returned to Belfast in the middle
of May, believing that the UDA death threat against him had been
lifted. Ironically part of the deal brokered with the UDA was the
promise that he would help to lure more senior Adair exiles back to
Belfast, where the UDA planned to kill them.