Man (52) forced to flee after refusing to allow UDA to use his house as a brothel

The man, who does not wish to be named for fear of reprisal, said he had been targeted by loyalists for decades.

A woman in a brothel. Stock image© Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ciaran O'NeillSunday World

A Catholic man claims he had to leave his home town because he would not allow the UDA to use his house as a brothel.

The 52-year-old, who grew up and lived in Lisburn, Co. Antrim, for most of his life, said he had faced years of intimidation from loyalist paramilitaries after he stood up to them when he was a teenager.

However, the “final straw” came, he said, when the UDA said they would “look after him” if he let them use his home for their sick money-making rackets.

“I knew then I had to get out of Lisburn,” he said.

The man, who does not wish to be named for fear of reprisal, said he had been targeted by loyalists for decades.

“I grew up in a loyalist area of Lisburn and would always have got stick when I was growing up,” he said.

“I never reacted to the abuse and usually just walked away, but when I was about 15 I stood up to one of my abusers and gave him a bit of a beating.

“Since then, the intimidation from the paramilitaries and people close to them has never stopped.”

After getting married, the man and his wife moved to a village near Lisburn.

However, he claims the abuse from loyalists continued.

“I would get people shouting at me in the street, men and women,” he says.

“There was no other reason for it other than I was a Catholic who had stood up to the paramilitaries. They didn’t like me or what I had done and they were determined to make my life hell.”

When he moved back to Lisburn after splitting from his wife, he said the intimidation got worse.

“I was trying to keep myself to myself but they just wouldn’t stop.

“Everywhere I went, people were either abusing me or threatening me,” he said.

The man said the recent interaction with the UDA took place following an issue with one of his neighbours.

“I was having some bother with a fella who lived beside me and I approached a community group to see if we could get things sorted out,” he said.

“The next thing was I got a visit from someone who I know to be a senior member of the UDA in Lisburn.

“He said he was keen to help me, but they wanted something in return.

“He said they would make sure I would come to no harm if I let them use my flat for prostitution.

“They said the prostitutes would use the living room and not go near my bedroom.”

The man said he was “disgusted” by the offer.

“There was no way I would agree to something like that,” he said.

“I have no criminal record and was certainly not going to put myself in danger of getting a criminal record to help the UDA make money.”

The man, who is now living in Co. Down, said he wanted to speak out about his ordeal to highlight the negative influence paramilitaries continue to have in loyalist areas.

“They claim they want to help people but all they want to do is use people to support their own criminal activities,” he said.

“You see the ads on the TV about paramilitaries wanting to control communities instead of helping them, and that’s very true in Lisburn.

“I know they picked on me because I was a Catholic, but I know people from the Protestant community who have been targeted in the same way.”

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