Cost of policing loyalist feud in Carrickfergus tops £2 million
THE cost of policing an ongoing loyalist feud in Co Antrim has topped more than £2 million.
So far, the feud in the coastal town of Carrickfergus, which involves rival factions of the South East Antrim UDA, has claimed two lives and forced dozens to flee their homes.
The trouble has resulted in a heightened police presence in the area, with daily patrols taking place to try and keep the peace.
According to figures obtained by The Irish News through a Freedom of Information request, policing the feud has cost the PSNI just over £2.1m to date. In December this figure stood at £1.6m.
This sum only relates to the direct cost of deploying officers in the area and does not include expenses incurred relating to police vehicles, subsistence and other incidental costs.
What had been a row between members of the South East Antrim UDA erupted into a full-blown feud in March when prominent loyalist George 'Geordie' Gilmore was shot numerous times in broad daylight as he sat in his car at Pinewood Avenue in the town.
He died from his injuries in hospital the following day.
Last week, the PSNI revealed that they had been sent a letter which contains "vital information" about Mr Gilmore's murder.
In July last year more than 100 men, some wearing masks, marched on the leading loyalist's Carrickfergus home in a bid to expel him from the area.
Several members of a small UDA faction loyal to Mr Gilmore have since had to relocate outside the jurisdiction following threats from opposing members.
Last month, Colin Horner, was shot dead in the car park of a Sainsbury's in Bangor in front of his three-year-old son.
Mr Horner, who was originally from Carrickfergus, had moved to north Belfast and later to Rathgael in Bangor after receiving a death threat from the organisation.
His family said he wanted to start a new life with his partner and two children.
Another man also appeared in court in March accused of attempting to by guns on the 'dark web' for use in the gangland violence.
It is estimated that at least 60 people in Carrickfergus have received death threats in relation to the feud in the last year and more than 20 people have been arrested on charges ranging from criminal damage to weapons offences.