One angry Shankill woman sent us pictures of Flag and Holy Cross protester Glen Kane ‘holding court’
Glen Kane has been almost ever-present at the tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as the loyalist stronghold continues to mourn her death and prepare for her funeral tomorrow.
While the Shankill has become a mostly respectful focal point for people all over the country who want to pay their respects, Kane’s presence has not been welcomed by all who have attended.
However, there was criticism after a UVF band – which also took part in a controversial memorial for UVF killer Brian Robinson last week – played at the memorial on Thursday night.
Some people have pointed out the Queen wouldn’t have had much time for Glen Kane’s hate-filled beliefs and one angry Shankill woman sent us pictures of Kane ‘holding court’ at the protest.
In 1992 Shankill man Kane, along with another group of men, battered 35-year-old Catholic Kieran Patrick Abram to death during a riot.
Some of the men used wooden planks with nails in them during the savage attack which took place in the early hours of the morning near an Army barracks at North Howard Street.
Originally charged with murder, the men later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Kane, who was 26 at the time of the killing, was described as being very immature and was sentenced to nine years in jail.
But it’s not just his past as a killer that has angered some mourners at the tribute which includes a large mural of the late monarch at Crimea Street.
For after being released from prison Kane turned to supporting far right groups including the British National Party and Britain First.
And he actively campaigned against Syrian refugees, who at the time were fleeing civil war, being rehomed in Northern Ireland.
Some people said they were “horrified” to see the sectarian killer virtually “running the show” at the memorial where thousands of people have visited over the last week, leaving hundreds of bunches of flowers and other messages for the Queen.
“I’m from the Shankill and I’d rather he wasn’t here,” said one resident who spotted Kane turn up several times over the last week.
“I’ve come down a few times and every time I’ve been here he’s been here. He’s been here in his football shirt and I’ve seen him in his funeral outfit complete with black tie.
“He even offers to take people’s photos at the mural, once they’ve left their flowers.
“He seems to have given himself the role of ‘Chief Mourner’ and I don’t think the Queen would have wanted someone filled with the hatred he has for Catholics and immigrants to have anything to do with her funeral.
“I mean it’s bad enough he killed someone because of their religion though I guess lots of people did that in this country and he served his time, but it’s the way he behaved after he got out of prison.
“He was one of the protesters at Holy Cross protesting at kids trying to get to school and pretty much every other protest you can think of he’s been at it.
“He was a prominent flag protester, but he also protested against refugees coming here which was disgusting.
“The Queen was kind and filled with love and the spirit of reconciliation – Glen Kane couldn’t be further from that if he tried.”
Kane (56) launched an appeal against his nine-year sentence, but it was dismissed.
Although loyalists at the time described the men involved as being part of a ‘UVF mob’, it’s believed that Kane was never involved with the terror group but became a close pal of members of the UDA’s ‘C’ Company and it’s here he was able to express his extreme right-wing views.
The brutal slaying of Kieran Abram lead to the building of a gate at North Howard Street to keep warring factions from both communities apart.
During the trial of Glen Kane, the court was told that two rival groups of men had been taunting each other early on a Sunday morning on the peaceline outside a nearby Army base.
A police Land Rover separated the two sides but a small group of loyalists used a sangar to hide behind as they waited to ambush a Catholic and Mr Abram was their unfortunate victim.
During the flag union flag protests Kane was a regular at Belfast City Hall and in 2015 he joined a group of 30 hardline loyalists to protest against plans to house 51 Syrians in Northern Ireland.
Last Thursday night hundreds of people gathered at the memorial for The Greater Shankill Service of Thanksgiving dedicated to the Queen and controversially a band displaying UVF insignia was invited to play.
The east Belfast UVF Regimental Band even featured on a BBC news broadcast and could be clearly seen displaying emblems that say “Ulster Volunteer Force Regimental Band” complete with UVF insignia and its motto ‘For God and Ulster’.
Last week they played at a UVF-organised memorial parade to Brian Robinson who was shot dead by soldiers moments after he had murdered Catholic Paddy McKenna at Ardoyne shops.