UDA-linked loyalists ask: Should we let police live among us?

Posted By: July 23, 2015

John Monaghan.Irish News (Belfast). Thursday, July 23, 2015

The post by the loyalist UPRG asking whether police officers “should be allowed” to live in loyalist areas 

A loyalist threat to police has asked if officers “should be allowed to live” in unionist areas.

It is the second loyalist threat against the PSNI since the Twelfth after masked and armed men issued death threats to officers and Parades Commission staff describing them as “legitimate targets”.

Police later carried searches at a Co Antrim Orange hall and the home of a prominent loyalist.

Now a Facebook posting from the UPRG, which has links to the UDA, asks: “Should they be allowed to live amongst us while they continue to treat us like pariahs?”

The comment, pictured above right, was posted by the ‘North Antrim, Londonderry and Tyrone’ branch of the party, which “provides political advice” to the UDA.

Earlier the UPRG said police were “nowhere to be seen as terrorists march in Londonderry”, a reference to the funeral of veteran republican Peggy O’Hara, and contrasted it with the numbers of officers deployed to monitor Orange Order parades on July 13.

The comment is reminiscent of unionist threats to police officers after the signing of the Anglo Irish Agreement in 1985 and the Drumcree tensions of the 1990s.

In June 1986 the then DUP leader Ian Paisley made a thinly veiled threat to officers when being removed from Stormont during a sit-in protest against the assembly’s dissolution.

Accusing some of the officers of mistreating him, the religious leader shouted: “Don’t come crying to me if your homes are attacked. You will reap what you sow.”

Then junior minister for the north, Nicholas Scott, described his remarks as “disgraceful”.

In June 1997 RUC Constable Gregory Taylor was beaten to death by a loyalist mob upon leaving a pub in Ballymoney, having been confronted inside by a crowd angry at the rerouting of Orange parades.

The death led the chairman of the north’s Police Federation, Les Rodgers, to criticise loyalist politicians.

He said: “Even the most eminent of politicians in this community had no hesitation in employing the cowardly tactic of reminding officers that they know where our homes and families are.”

The PSNI said it was “aware” of the UPRG comments but that “no crime had been committed”.