Public cash paid to hammer gang that beat dad who stood up to UDA thugs

Dee Stitt
Dee Stitt

The UDA gang behind the hammer attack on a Bangor community worker has­ received Stormont funding.

We can reveal the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister has provided funds through official channels to a so-called loyalist community group that has been trying to muscle its way into the Clandeboye Estate over the last year.

And we can also reveal the loyalist boss behind the gang involved in beating up father-of-three Aaron McMahon is DUP-linked Dee Stitt.

Stitt (43), who sat on the board  publicly-funded group Charter NI, served eight years for conspiracy to murder and possessing a gun.

Two years ago the Sunday World named and shamed Stitt after he was behind threats made to a Belfast journalist who had exposed the UDA gang he was running at the time.

But incredibly since then Stitt has been a regular visitor to Stormont where he – along with other senior loyalist figures – were feted by the DUP in the run-up to elections.

At one point the DUP were believed to have even been considering running Stitt in the last council elections but changed their minds after the plan was made public.

Mr McMahon, who is chairman of the Clandeboye Village Community Association, was viciously beaten by hammer-wielding UDA thugs in his own home on Wednesday. The 45-year-old was lucky not to have suffered any serious injuries in the attack which took place in front of his wife and three children.

He has been widely supported by the local community who say he has been brave for standing up to the loyalist paramilitary thugs.

Mr McMahon said afterwards he was attacked for standing up to a group of loyalists who had erected unwanted paramilitary flags in the estate and had also tried to take over the local bonfire.

The community held a vigil on Thursday night in solidarity with Mr McMahon, sending a signal to the UDA that they are not wanted.

 Aaron McMahon 

While Stitt was not personally involved in the attack, it’s understood he is a senior figure in the group of loyalists who have tried to take over the area. It’s not clear just how much money has been allocated to Stitt’s group but one source told the Sunday World: “Even a single penny given to someone like him is a penny too much.”

During the vigil some DUP councillors were heckled by members of the local community who are said to be angry for not doing more to support Mr McMahon and his group.

The attack on Mr McMahon comes just two weeks after the DUP and Sinn Fein signed a deal which included an agreement to work to bring the disbandment of all paramilitary groups.

Stitt has been working as a publicly funded community worker in east Belfast for the last few years.

In 2013 Stitt had his men paint a journalist’s name and phone number all over Bangor and Newtownards after the reporter exposed a UDA gang for stealing guns from another UDA team.

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