Northern Ireland news

Graffiti referring to UDA boss Dee Coleman appears in Lower Shankill

Loyalists were out from early morning painting over graffiti in the lower Shankill area yesterday.

Graffiti referring well known loyalist David 'Dee' Coleman appeared in the lower Shankill area just hours after the 32-year-old, who police claim was second in command of UDA C Company, was jailed for membership of the organisation.

Coleman was given a three-year sentence on Thursday, 18 months to be served in prison and 18 on licence. The father-of-one with an address at The Green, Hollywood has already served almost 12-months of his jail term on remand.

He admitted belonging to the UDA between November 2016 and October 2017 and possessing a document bearing an oath of allegiance to the paramilitary organisation.

It is the first prosecution for membership of a proscribed organisation by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PTCF).

Coleman's brother Gary, who was arrested last year for drugs offences, was also included in graffiti that was painted on a number of walls in the lower Shankill estate, demanding the two brothers stay out of the area.

Senior loyalists, including William 'Mo' Courtney, were later seen with with paint and brushes covering over the graffiti.

Tensions are said to be high in the area with questions being asked over why senior figures in the organisation have not been arrested or charged by the crime force, despite being openly linked to the wholesale supply of illegal drugs in the Shankill.

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