October 26th, 2014

UDA's Jimmy Birch's pals in Samurai sword stand-off in Tullycarnett estate

Northern IrelandBy Richard Sullivan
Jackie McDonald with Jimmy Birch
Jackie McDonald with Jimmy Birch

UDA chief Jimmy “Dapper Don” Birch is facing renewed pressure to stand aside after his men were forced to back down in a samurai sword confrontation.

More embarrassment has been heaped on the east Belfast terror boss after a row in the Tullycarnett estate – the heart of Birch’s criminal operation.

It is understood samurai swords and baseball bats were produced during the incident which erupted after a house party in the estate last weekend. 

Birch was out of the country at the time but his embarrassment has been compounded by the fact his mistress was caught up in the incident.

Trouble flared when a member of a prominent loyalist family was assaulted by one of Birch’s men during a party in a Tullycarnett flat. A stand off ensued after the injured man called his brothers.

“Tables and chairs that had been set up outside were tipped over and thrown about the place,” an eye witness told the Sunday World.

The UDA’s Tullycarnett commander and another senior member of the organisation confronted the four brothers who called them out for a fight.

“They backed down telling the brothers they didn’t want a fight, but it turned even nastier when Birchie’s girlfriend came out and told them all to go away as she and her baby were trying to get to sleep.

 

“She was told to go away or she would be chopped up.”

It was at that point one of the UDA men produced a sword; the brothers responded by arming themselves with baseball bats.

“The UDA men backed down which is really embarrassing for Birch. His men have been seen off in his own back yard.”

The brothers, who are from the Newtownards Road, are well known in loyalist circles and have gained considerable support for standing up to the UDA, with at least one senior paramilitary figure backing them.

“Birchie will have to be seen to be doing something, and he may have to let his man in Tullycarnett go, but he’s in a real spot, especially if his girlfriend wants something done about it.

“No one will take on the brothers.”

The incident is the latest setback for the UDA chief, dubbed The Dazzler because of his fondness for shiny suits and sunbed sessions. 

His authority has been constantly undermined in recent months and now he is likely to be in more trouble with his wife who had ordered him to end his fling with his young lover even demanding that she be put out.

“The people in Tullycarnet have had enough of him, they’re looking to the UDA to replace him, he has become a real embarrassment to them,” says a source. 

“He doesn’t run anything, he just does what his wife tells him.”

Balding Birch has lost credibility among UDA members disgusted at his lucrative drug running racket and his recruitment of known drug dealers including former LVF men into the organisation.

Veterans are horrified that former LVF members, known drug dealers, have been recruited despite an assurance from the ruling Inner Council that no ex-LVF members would be allowed to join.

The UDA has been actively recruiting former LVF men in Holywood with the sole aim of cashing in on their lucrative drug running operation. 

We are aware of the identities of four known drug dealers who have been sworn into the UDA. None of them have any historical allegiance to the organisation.

The move flies in the face of a statement issued by the Combined Loyalist Military Command – an umbrella group representing loyalist terror groups – in the wake of the LVF disbanding in 2005 which stated the UDA would not recruit from the remnants of the LVF.

Birch controls a major drug operation centred on the Tullycarnett estate and stretching into Holywood. Some UDA sources claim he raking in as much as £30,000 a week from the operation.

Tullycarnet is the hub of the operation, home to an illegal drinking club, but even here he is regarded with disdain.

“There is no respect for him, his men openly rip the back out of him, they’ve been selling drugs in his shebeen, lining their own pockets,” said a source.

“He’s a lame duck.”