05 January 2006

Republican rubbishes UDA drug tape claims

Daily Ireland

Ciarán Barnes

A senior Belfast republican yesterday denied loyalist claims that he was involved in drugs.
Paul Carson spoke out after the north Belfast Ulster Defence Association claimed it had secret audio recordings of him negotiating drug deals with Loyalist Volunteer Force figures.
Mr Carson is a well-known member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the Irish National Liberation Army.
In a statement to Daily Ireland, Mr Carson accused his opponents of trying to demonise him.
He said: “I emphatically deny any allegations regarding any involvement in drugs.
“I have been and continue to be a republican all my adult life, and my republican credentials in the struggle are there for all to see.
“I have not been involved in drugs. My record in my community is clear.
“These allegations have been around for years and are an attempt to demonise me.
“They emanate from British intelligence, PSNI Special Branch and criminal and loyalist sources who are up to their necks in drug dealing.”
Mr Carson added: “These false allegations will not stop my involvement in republican socialist politics. Those making these allegations should put up or shut up.”
IRSP spokesman Willie Gallagher also rubbished the allegations.
He condemned those who spread lies about genuine republicans.
North Belfast loyalist Sammy Duddy, a political spokesman for the UDA, speaking to Daily Ireland yesterday, claimed that his organisation had audio tapes allegedly of Mr Carson organising drug deals with an LVF boss from Ballysillan.
Mr Duddy claimed the content of the alleged tapes prompted the UDA to attack LVF homes in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast on Monday evening, during which a shot was fired.
He said: “That is why we had the incident in Ballysillan on Monday evening.
“I know for a fact that the UDA is in possession of these tapes.”
Daily Ireland understands the audio tapes were allegedly made by a relative of an LVF drug dealer from north Belfast.
It’s claimed because he owns a legally-held weapon, he was taken as backup to the drug meetings between his LVF relative and the alleged drug dealer.
At the meetings, he would secretly record his LVF relative negotiating the sale of ecstasy and cocaine.
The alleged tape recordings were then said to have been given to a young LVF man from Ballysillan for safekeeping.
It’s then claimed this man had a major fallout with the LVF and he then gave the UDA the alleged tapes in return for protection from that organisation.
After listening to the contents, the UDA claims it decided to confront the LVF man.
A UDA gang went hunting him on Monday evening.
The gang members called to a house in Ballysillan but were unable to find their target.
They then clashed with friends of the LVF man, one of whom fired a shot in the air.
The PSNI has been investigating the incident.
The north Belfast UDA is now claiming it will make the alleged tapes public.

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