ColumnistsRichard Sullivan

UVF bullies are behind this surge in race crime

UVF bullies are behind this surge in race crime

The alarming increase in attacks on foreign nationals says more about the continued prominence of paramiltary gangs than a surge in racism.

The seeds for race hate attacks have been deliberately and carefully sown by crime bosses hell bent on keeping a grip on the communities they have tortured for decades. 

The attack this week on Asta’s Glam Factory, a nail bar in east Belfast took things to a more sinister level. 

This wasn’t a gang of feckless kids putting a brick through someone’s window, no this bore all the hallmarks of the sort of treatment dished out to businesses who refuse to pay the local hoods protection money.

We have a serious issue with racially motivated crime but to simply categorise these incidents in such a way ignores the underlying issue - the continued control paramilitary organisations have over communities.

It is the simplest thing in the world to blame immigrants for all our woes. Nigel Farage has managed to convince a sizeable chunk of the electorate that everything from unemployment, debt,  to the trains running late is the fault of the Polish brickie living round the corner.

Here it’s a little more subtle, fanning the flames of racial hatred is just another way for terror groups - in particular the UVF - to stay in control.

A quick look at the figures will tell you the majority of race attacks happen in loyalist areas - that’s not to say all loyalists are racist, but the bulk of the 383 race hate crimes carried out in the last eight months occurred in areas where the UVF hold sway.

East Belfast, domain to Stephen Matthews, has seen a 73 per cent increase in attacks,  south Belfast controlled by Eddie Rainey has seen the number of  incidents rise to 125.

The UVF and their mouthpieces in the PUP have spent the last 40 years blaming everybody else for the problems they have created.

Foreign nationals are just somebody else to blame.

It says a lot about the failure of the police and, by the way, certain political parties here, to take the UVF and others down.  And its startling to read the Chief Constable’s apparent bewilderment that loyalist paramilitaries still exist.

I don’t for a second believe Northern Ireland is, per se,  a racist society, it’s a society which  to a considerable extent, is in the grip of people like  Matthews and Rainey.

They pull the strings,  and pick the scabs  to justify their existence.

The truth is the UVF wrecked their own communities, starved their own people of education and investment and now they seduce young impressionable men into believing their life is miserable because someone moved here from another country.

The fact local residents are now on the dole because the UVF torched a nail bar owned by a Lithuanian tells you all you need to know, rather than taking locals’ jobs she was creating jobs for locals.

To describe this as a race hate crime lets the police paper over the real story and that is the failure to deal with and defeat organised crime.

Race crime is here, and it’s a problem but take  out the UVF and the tolerant multi-cultural society we all yearn for comes an awful lot closer.