Northern Ireland news

Son of Kevin McDaid among those targeted in escalation of violence by north Antrim UDA

Ryan McDaid is a son of Kevin McDaid (pictured), who died after a sectarian attack in Coleraine in 2009

THE son of a man who died after a sectarian attack is among those being targeted by the north Antrim UDA in an escalation of violence by the loyalist group in the Coleraine area.

Concerns have been raised about the safety of a number of people who have been subjected to attack by the hard-line faction of the paramilitary group in the last year.

A hoax pipe bomb-style device was left on the windscreen of Ryan McDaid's car on Christmas Eve.

His father Kevin (49), a popular cross-community worker, was beaten outside his Coleraine home in May 2009.

Damien Fleming was also attacked, leaving him requiring life-long care. His nephew Paul Fleming (36) is also among those who have been targeted in recent months.

In November last year he was blasted with a shotgun as he stood at the door of his Coleraine home, suffering serious injuries.

A third Catholic man was also targeted in a sectarian campaign of violence linked to the gang.

In the last 12 months there have been 14 shootings and numerous incidents of threats and intimidation linked to the north Antrim UDA.

It was responsible for the attempted murder of 61-year-old Coleraine grandmother Sally Cummings in October last year, after shots were fired at her home.

Kevin Winters of KRW Law, who represents a number of people who have been threatened by the gang, including Ryan McDaid and Paul Fleming, said he has written to the PSNI about security measures to protect his clients.

He said Mr Fleming was provided with a new chain for the front door and some leaflets in relation to general advice about security precautions.

"Other than that nothing else has been offered to him and his mother in order to facilitate them availing of the widest level of security as possible," Mr Winters said.

"They are disappointed at what has been offered to date and would like an immediate review to include authorising additional security measures including reinforced windows, security alarm and anything else can be implemented in a manner proportionate to the current risk and threat level against him and his family".

In relation to the intimidation of Ryan McDaid, Mr Winters said that given the attack on his father he has "understandable anxiety and concerns".

Causeway Coast and Glens District Commander Superintendent Ian Magee said police were not in a position to comment on individual investigations.

But he added: “Those who are involved in criminal acts of this nature do not represent the interests of any community nor contribute anything to it.

"They don’t care about the psychological damage they are causing to people witnessing these attacks.

"In one of the shootings last year there were young children in the house at the time. That is an unbelievable trauma to inflict on anyone, let alone a child.

“Communities have a choice, and it is clear that the vast majority of people here have chosen to support the police and support law and order.

"Those small groups of individuals who continue to try and terrorise people and commit criminal acts must be isolated."

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