02 April 2006

Tensions rise over UDA 'fine'

Sunday Life

By Alan Murray
02 April 2006

TENSION is growing between two UDA units over the fining of a drug dealer in west Belfast.

Convicted killer Paul 'Gull' Hamilton has told UDA friends in north Belfast that he handed over £25,000 to three senior figures in the organisation in the Shankill Road area.

But the Shankill trio, Jim Spence, Eric McKee and Matt Kinkaid have denied that they got £25,000 from Hamilton two weeks ago and are seething at the claim.

It's not disputed that the former life sentence prisoner was 'fined' £50,000 when he was summoned to a meeting with the three UDA figures at a Shankill club three weeks ago.

Hamilton was told that the fine was for selling large quantities of hard drugs in Belfast.

He protested he was selling the drugs in the university area and not in their patch but was told it didn't matter, he was using the UDA's name and that wasn't acceptable.

He was also told that if the organisation hadn't been observing a ceasefire, he would have been shot for his drug peddling activities.

Spence, McKee and Kinkaid have said that no money was handed over and they're angry that they're being accused of pocketing the cash.

"People are very angry at what this man has claimed and they also suspect that some figures in the north Belfast brigade are giving this drug dealer support and that could lead to trouble," one source in the west Belfast brigade said.

But the UDA's north Belfast brigade is denying that Hamilton is being given any support.

Said one north Belfast UDA source: "Nobody in the north Belfast brigade is supporting his drug dealing or anybody else's but he has claimed that he handed over £25,000 to three leading figures in the west Belfast brigade. We can't stop him saying that - it's for west Belfast to sort out.

"Gull knows people in north Belfast but the brigade has no position on it or him."

Other UDA sources say two figures in the terror group's south Belfast brigade are major drug dealers.

Said one source: "Nobody's shedding any tears for Hamilton but there are two serious dealers in south Belfast that the rest of the organisation is talking about. When are they going to be put out of business?

"The organisation can't say it's cleaning up its act on one side of the river while in another brigade, they're cracking away at drug dealing under the nose of a brigadier."

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