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BBC Northern Ireland's Mervyn Jess
Police do not believe killing is linked to Shankill feud
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Monday, 30 October, 2000, 08:57 GMT
Talks call after Belfast murder

Police say killing is not linked to loyalist feud
The murder of a man in north Belfast is not thought to be "directly" linked to a feud between loyalist paramilitaries, the two groups' political allies have said.

David Greer, 21, from Robena Court, was found with bullet wounds to his chest at Mountcollyer Avenue after reports of disturbances on Saturday night at 2145 BST.

He is understood to have been a member of the Ulster Defence Association which has been involved in a feud with the rival Ulster Volunteer Force in the Shankill area of west Belfast.

John White, chairman of the Ulster Democratic Party which is linked to the UDA, blamed the UVF for Mr Greer's murder.

He told BBC Radio Ulster: "There is no doubt this was an unprovoked attack by the UVF.

"They drew up in a car and murdered this man at will."

UDP chairman John White
John White: "UVF are out of control"
But although he said tensions were still high in north and west Belfast following feud violence in July and August, he believed the murder was not "directly" linked.

Three men have been killed and more than 200 families forced from their homes on the Shankill Road during the feud.

He said: "I think indirectly it may be linked because of the hatred between the UDA and UVF.

"I understand that on Friday night a UDA man was attacked by a crowd of UVF and seriously injured, and I think that what happened on Saturday was the result of the two organisations confronting each other."

He said he felt the areas affected by the feud had been "very difficult to police" since the upsurge in violence.

"What you have is a period of relative calm and then an incident occurs and within minutes it can escalate into someone being killed," he said.

"It is clear the UVF seem to be out of control."

PUP assemblyman
Billy Hutchinson: "I don't think anybody deliberately went to do this"
Billy Hutchinson, assembly member for the Progressive Unionist Party which is linked to the UVF, said he did not believe the shooting was part of the feud which has centred on the Shankill area of west Belfast.

He said it was too soon to come to any conclusions about the identity of the killers.

"My understanding is that there were a number of incidents on Friday night in which people were attacked and again the car was attacked and two shots were fired and someone was killed.

"It doesn't sound to me like somebody went out deliberately to do it," he said.

The UDP has called for talks following the murder.

Mr Hutchinson said he believed this could happen.

"Until all of the facts have been investigated and until everybody knows the facts and sits down and talks about it then it won't be sorted out but I think there is a will in north Belfast to sort this out by dialogue," he said.

The police said they did not believe the shooting was linked with the Shankill feud.

RUC Detective Chief Inspector Arnie McAllister said the police were investigating an incident in the area immediately prior to the killing.

"We believe that at least three vehicles left the area just close to the scene at the time of the shooting," he said.

The vehicles were described as one which was a light coloured car, a dark coloured car, which he said may be a Vauxhall Astra, and a red vehicle, believed to be a Ford Orion.

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See also:

06 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Shankill families get feud help
27 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Truce hopes in loyalist feud
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