Northern Ireland news

UVF unit believed to have been formed after murder of UDR man

UDR man Raymond McNicol was killed by the IRA in 1988 near Cookstown in Co Tyrone
Connla Young

REPUBLICANS believe a killer UVF unit based in Mid Ulster was formed after the IRA shot dead a UDR man in east Tyrone.

Raymond McNicol was killed by the IRA in August 1988 at Desertcreat, near Cookstown in Co Tyrone.

The 30-year-old, who came from Cookstown, died after his car was raked with gunfire as he made his way to work at an engineering firm 30 years ago next week.

A member of the Orange Order, he had joined the UDR in 1976.

Sources say the UVF unit killed several Catholics and republicans across east Tyrone before ending its campaign in the early '90s.

UDR man Raymond McNicol was driving to work when he was shot dead by the IRA

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After the McNicol shooting two men were arrested at a house and questioned for three days before being released.

The man who owned the house was subsequently targeted twice by loyalists but escaped with his life.

Another Catholic man was also shot and injured in January 1989.

Tommy Casey

Sinn Féin member Tommy Casey, who was killed by the UVF near Cookstown in 1990, is believed to have been targeted by the cell.

The getaway car used by the gunmen was found abandoned close to where Mr McNicol was shot two years earlier.

Former republican prisoner Sean Anderson was shot dead almost a year to the day after Mr Casey.

Some believe he was the original target.

 UDR soldiers on patrol

During this period the IRA in east Tyrone continued to target both UDR members and suspected loyalist paramilitaries, killing several across the district.

It is believed that the loyalist unit decided to give up its campaign after a leading member was killed by republicans.

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