The new leader of the South East Antrim Brigade of the UDA has been linked to the murder of postman Daniel McColgan and the killing of a UVF man in Rathcoole during the loyalist feud of 2000.
It is believed he was one of the gunmen involved in the murder of UVF man Mark Quail who was shot in the head at Ballyronan Park in the loyalist Rathcoole estate in November 2000.
The 26-year-old victim had earlier been convicted along with 11 other UVF hardmen to three years in jail for his part in an attack on the Golden Hind Bar in Portadown in August 1997. The attack on LVF members sparked the feud between the LVF and UVF in Portadown leading to the killing of UVF man Richard Jameson.
Quail was sentenced with UVF leaders from Rathcoole and Mount Vernon.
The new leadership of the biggest UDA brigade has been taking shape since the murder by Johnny Adair’s C Company of multiple murderer John “Grugg” Gregg.
He had headed up the group which carried out the killing of Glengormley teenager Gavin Brett in July 2000 and Longlands’ father-of-one Daniel McColgan in January 2002.
But loyalist sources insisted yesterday the UDA was sincere about delivering its promise of a 12-month-ceasefire. The ceasefire is to be reviewed say the paramilitary organisation, every three months within that time scale.
The man who is younger than Gregg and was on line to take over from Grugg before the brigadier’s murder last month. He is said to be more militant in outlook.
He will take a lead role in a new structure announced by the group that is to be replicated throughout the UDA’s five remaining brigades. Each brigade is to be headed up by a six-strong committee. Favoured current leaders such as the North Belfast brigadier will have a “guiding role” on those committees according to UPRG spokesman Sammy Duddy.
Among the personalities in the biggest brigade which stretches from Newtownabbey, Glengormley, south and east Antrim, Whiteabbey, Whitehouse and Glengormley is a Rathcoole community worker, a well-known veteran loyalist and another hard line militant.
When Sammy Duddy was asked yesterday if the installation of the gunman involved in Mark Quail’s murder would provoke the UVF in Rathcoole, he said it was a matter for the UVF’s “own agenda”.
And whether the Rathcoole UDA would make up with the UVF in the form of an apology for the murder of Mark Quail, he replied that “all these things are under review”.
“We are very sincere and time will tell that we are. Sinn Féin want to tell the people it won’t work, but there hasn’t been a stone thrown on the Halliday’s Road over the weekend and our ceasefire is showing our commitment,” he said.