02 June 2006

UVF leadership sanctioned Haddock murder bid

Belfast Telegraph

By Brian Rowan
02 June 2006

The UVF was behind the attempted murder of the informer Mark Haddock, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

The disclosure comes from a senior and credible source, who spoke to this newspaper within the past 24 hours.

Another source has revealed that Haddock will know the gunman who fired the shots that critically wounded him.

The only unanswered question is whether the UVF will now formally admit to its involvement in the shooting.

It was not a maverick attack and nor was it carried out by individuals acting without authority.

The background commentary on this shooting is that Tuesday's attempt to kill Haddock resulted from the most recent revelations about his informer activities.

But, according to reliable sources, he was de-activated - a move that coincided with the opening of the Police Ombudsman investigation four years ago into events surrounding the 1997 murder of Raymond McCord Jnr and a purge of the informer world ordered by the Chief Constable.

The police have not yet publicly linked the UVF to Tuesday's shooting, but the confirmation obtained by this newspaper that that group was involved will increase pressure on the Ulster Unionists over their Stormont arrangement with David Ervine.

The PUP leader, whose party has political links to the UVF, has been saying in interviews that he believes there was no authorisation for the shooting.

A lengthy consultation involving meetings in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England has now been completed.

But the loyalist group is delaying making a declaration on its future intentions until after the November 24 deadline for a political deal at Stormont.

Next week, the Ulster Unionists will meet the Independent Monitoring Commission - the body that reports to the British and Irish Governments on continuing paramilitary activity and the state of ceasefires.

The Haddock shooting - and who was responsible - will be part of the agenda for that meeting.

A senior Ulster Unionist source said his party's objective is to try to bring paramilitarism to an end, to get the arms issue dealt with and to stop young people joining loyalist organisations.

Meanwhile, Haddock is recovering from his injuries and has been able to talk to family members from his hospital.

Anti-UVF campaigner Raymond McCord today challenged Chief Constable Hugh Orde to order the arrest of Haddock over the mounting allegations about his paramilitary past.

"The PSNI should not wait for the Ombudsman's report. Nuala O'Loan is not investigating Mark Haddock, she has been looking into the police investigation of my son's murder."

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