Police step up security in Carrickfergus as loyalist feud escalates
The police have stepped up resources in the wake of disturbances in Carrickfergus last Saturday.
Last weekend a series of incidents led to Carrickfergus descending into turmoil, with loyalist gangs armed with cudgels and machetes patrolling housing estates.
Tensions in the seaside town had been rising in the months running up to the clashes.
Trouble kicked off after a UDA man, and member of the Geordie Gilmore faction in the town, was ordered out of Carrick after attacking the home of a prominent loyalist.
He was told that he could return to the town as long as he accepted a punishment shooting.
However, instead of giving the Gilmore associate a flesh wound, he was shot through both knees.
The next day, UFF flags were removed from lampposts in the Glenfield Estate on the orders of UDA deadbeat druggie commander Clifford "Trigger" Irons.
Then Geordie Gilmore Jr, a key figure in Gilmore's South East Antrim breakaway faction, defaced a UDA mural in the town.
Clashes in Catlemara also saw a man attacked with a machete.
This led to a 150-strong mob assembling in Carrick on the orders of Irons.
After the men had gathered however, the Gilmores, with just 30 men, ambushed Irons' men at the Woodburn bonfire. Even though Irons had over three times more men than the Gilmores they fled from their own area.
The Gilmore mob then set the Woodburn bonfire alight - a massive insult to Irons.
As the humiliated UDA men looked to Irons for leadership, the South East Antrim chief was nowhere to be seen.
Then on Saturday night, a mob lay siege to the home of Geordie Gilmore.
A line of cops stood between the massive mob and Gilmore's home, but the UDA crowd later dispersed.
Now the police have stepped up their security operation in the town, fearing more clashes could be on the cards.
District Commander Ryan Henderson said: “You will hear speculation as to why things are happening, but there’s no excuse for this.
“When we get to the bottom of this, I’m sure it will be about egos and bruised pride.
“Really, there’s no place for violence in modern day Northern Ireland.”
For a special report on the Carrickfergus feud, read this week's Sunday World