UVF leader Harry Stockman under pressure to stand down
UVF leader Harry Stockman is under pressure to stand down after he gave his most trusted sidekick his marching orders.
Teams on the Shankill are asking why ‘Harmless’ Harry is still in power while Joe McGaw has been ousted.
The racketeer’s exile has turned the spotlight on Stockman, who took the proceeds of McGaw’s criminal activities for years. In a recent coup McGaw lost control of the teams under his command and was ordered by pal Harry to leave Belfast.
Despite his lucrative rackets he had been fined £10,000 recently for dragging the UVF into a domestic dispute, and just weeks later three of the five teams under his command refused to take orders.
Joe 'No Neck' McGaw
Stockman had tried to fight his corner to keep the money flowing in, but eventually had to bow to his men’s demand.
But the same teams are now asking how Stockman can carry on.
“For years Stockman gave McGaw his seal of approval and took in the money from drugs and the market he runs,” says an insider.
“Stockman sacrificed McGaw for doing all this criminal activity but it was Harry who was overseeing it.
“There is no confidence in him now.”
Stockman’s lack of active service – he took over after the loyalist ceasefires – has also called his leadership into question.
The recent announcement of a Loyalist Community Council which will help paramilitary groups to turn their backs on law-breaking has added to Stockman’s worries.
“Look at the number of people who have been exiled and beaten and threatened and forced out of their homes and made to hand over money” the source said. “They have been like the Taliban for the last 10 years and it’s started to leave a stink in the nostrils of decent people.”
It’s predicted that there will be no immediate move against Stockman to avoid creating a vacuum in the UVF leadership, but his days at the top are numbered.