UVF goon Rainey sidelined as his pal takes control
Lame duck terror boss Eddie ‘Onions’ Rainey has been sidelined – by his best friend.
Loyalist sources have told us the balding terror chief has had his chips and is Brigadier in name only with right hand man, Eddie ‘The Bully’ Ewart assuming control.
There have been growing concerns among UVF members in south Belfast at Rainey’s increasingly erratic behaviour.
He has succeeded in splitting the organisation and has mired the UVF in an ongoing race hate campaign. His alliance with an organised crime gang from eastern Europe and his defiance of the UVF leadership on the Shankill has deeply divided the organisation.
Rainey has retained his rank – for now – but it is Ewart who is calling the shots.
Sources have told us that during recent meetings it has been Ewart who has done “all the talking.”
“Rainey is there but he just sits there and says nothing,” said our source.
“The Bully makes all the calls.”
Taxi driver Ewart’s elevation – the organisation’s commander in the Suffolk estate – will not be popular.
Regarded as a ‘chocolate soldier’ he spent the latter years of the Troubles living in Australia only to return to his native land once the ceasefires were called.
He initially joined the UDA but was forced to quit the organisation because of various rumours that swirled their way around the city.
Ironically his time in the UVF has been marked with the south Belfast’s brigade becoming increasingly involved in the drugs trade.
Rainey has become a hate figure among many loyalists in south Belfast and there is alarm among the Shankill leadership that he has brought the organisation into conflict with the UDA.
He remains one of five paramilitary figures facing a police investigation over an aborted gun attack on a house on Sandy Row.
Cops scooped the top layer of the loyalist paramilitary group in south Belfast in the wake of the attack last month.
Ewart was also questioned along with Darren ‘Lightning’ Purdy, Mark Campbell and Davy Whitley but the attack was ordered by Rainey as part of an ongoing personal grudge against a prominent loyalist family.
Eddie 'The Bully' Ewart
Two masked men, each carrying handguns, fled from a house on Blythe Street after a failed assassination attempt.
The intended target had a lucky escape after one of the would-be gunman’s pistol failed to fire.
A follow up police operation recovered a number of items including live rounds, and an iron bar which had been shoved down a drain.
They also detained coke head Rainey and his cohorts. Onions’ credibility has nosedived as he plunges the organisation deeper and deeper into the drugs trade. He is also believed to have orchestrated a campaign of race hate attacks across south Belfast.
To make matters worse Rainey snubbed a meeting with a furious Jackie McDonald. The UDA chief was angered by the attack in the heart of UDA territory.
But it is Rainey’s relationship with a gang known as the Russians and the wholesale influx of high grade cocaine and heroin that is at the root of members’ distrust.
The organised crime gang is allowed to peddle their drugs free from interference in return for supplying Onions and his cronies with enough to keep them permanently stoned.
He has developed a serious cocaine habit and spends most of his time drinking in the Hideout Bar on the Donegall Pass and taking coke.
The Sunday World understands he has made moves to expand his drug dealing operation beyond the UVF heartland of Donegall Pass and the Donegall Road.
He has been spotted in a well known south Belfast bar raising fears he is trying to set up a new drug dealing network.
In recent weeks he has become increasingly paranoid about his personal safety. He is convinced he will be targeted because of his personal grudge with a prominent loyalist family.
He has been spending nights at a relative’s house in the Belvoir estate because he is fearful of attack in the Village.
Other UVF cronies including Colin ‘Meerkat’ Fulton have beefed up their personal security with CCTV and in Fulton’s case, his home being watched during the hours of darkness.