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BBC Northern Ireland's Tara Mills
"Appeals to end the spiral of killings have fallen on deaf ears"
 real 56k

Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 09:22 GMT
Killing linked to loyalist feud

An ambulance leaving the scene of the shooting
The murder of man on the outskirts of Belfast is being linked to a continuing loyalist feud.

Mark Quail, 26, died after being shot several times in the head by two gunmen who forced their way into his home in Newtownabbey.

The shooting happened at Ballyronan Park in the loyalist Rathcoole Estate shortly before 1830 GMT on Wednesday.

Loyalist sources said he was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, and have blamed the Ulster Defence Association.


Police believe the shooting is linked to loyalist feuding
The RUC sub-divisional commander for the Newtownabbey area has appealed for help from the public after the murder of Mr Quail.

Superintendent Campbell Dixon said he believed the killing of the 26-year-old was linked to feuding between loyalists in north Belfast.

He said: "I know the difficulties in standing up to paramilitary elements.

"But we have got to have this stopped and we need the help of the community."

Mr Quail was sentenced along with 11 other men to three years in jail for his part in an attack on the Golden Hind Bar in Portadown in August 1997.

The Ulster Democratic Party chairman for north Belfast has said all the recent killings were "tragically wrong" and could have been avoided.

David Mahood said there was no sign of an end to the continuing loyalist feud.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Mahood said: "People are asking me is there any way out of it and unfortunately there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

"I can't hold out any hope at present - it's decimating our community," he said.

The UDP has links to the Ulster Defence Association.

David Ervine:
David Ervine: "We consistently find ourselves being dragged backwards"
The Progressive Unionist Party's David Ervine has condemned the murder of Mr Quail.

The PUP has links to the Ulster Volunteer Force.

He said it is incumbent on everyone in a position of responsibility to ensure that the killings end for good.

"It is unbelievable that we have families being distorted in the way that they are now.

"This society believed that it was looking towards a new future, and we consistently find ourselves being dragged backwards," he said.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Mandelson has said differences must be set aside to resolve the continuing loyalist feud.

Mr Mandelson said the violence was "bringing shame" to the areas affected and said those involved should "put the interests of the people first".

"The security forces are containing the violence but they cannot solve it," he said.

It is the fourth murder in the greater Belfast area since Saturday, and has led to the RUC asking the Army to increase its patrols.

Ambulance staff said the victim had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head.

The victim's girlfriend, who was with him, was not injured.

A police officer at the scene said a family in a flat below where the shooting took place had a lucky escape as a number of bullets passed through the floor into their flat.

On-going feud

Three men have been killed in a spate of murders being linked to feuding between the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Ulster Freedom Fighters in the north of the city.

Tommy English, a former Ulster Democratic Party member, was shot dead in front of his wife on Tuesday night. The killing is being blamed on the Ulster Volunteer Force.

On Monday, 63-year-old Bertie Rice was targeted by gun-men who entered his home on Canning Street in the York Road area.

The Ulster Freedom Fighters is thought to have carried out the shooting as a response to the murder of David Greer on Saturday following what is believed to have been a dispute in a bar.

Mr Greer, 21, from Robena Court in Belfast was buried on Wednesday. The UVF is believed to have carried out the shooting.

Concerns

The latest outbreak of shootings in north Belfast is not thought to be related to feuding between factions of the UVF and the UFF on Belfast's Shankill Road.

However, talks between leaders of the paramilitary groups involved, which were due to go ahead in the coming days, have been abandoned due to the latest violence.

Concern has been expressed by community leaders who are worried that the violence in the north of the city may re-ignite clashes on the Shankill Road where there had been an uneasy calm over the past few weeks.

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See also:

31 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Man dies after 'reprisal' shooting
01 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Feud talks abandoned after killings
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