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Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 19:09 GMT
Four questioned at Scottish port
Police at Cairnryan
Police questioned four people at Cairnryan
Four people were questioned by police after supporters and family of jailed loyalist Johnny Adair fled to Scotland.

It is understood that more than 20 people who left Belfast following a feud within the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) arrived in the port of Cairnryan on Wednesday morning.

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said that a number of passengers travelling on the ferry, which docked at 0610 GMT, were subject to checks under anti-terrorism legislation.

Johnny Adair
Johnny Adair was expelled from the UDA last year
"As a result of that four people have been subject to examination under the terms of the Terrorism Act 2000," said Superintendent Alex Dickson.

All four were later released and allowed to continue their journey.

Police would not say how many people were in the group which arrived from Larne.

The Scottish National Party MSP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, Alasdair Morgan, said there was a "humanitarian" aspect to the case, as many of those who arrived at Cairnryan were women and children.

"I am fully confident that the police have dealt with this somewhat unusual situation at no risk to the travelling public," he said.

Paramilitary organisation

"It is my understanding that this particular group of people have now continued on their journey, and that they are no longer present in Dumfries and Galloway."

The sudden departure of Adair's followers was the latest development in a feud within the UDA, Northern Ireland's largest paramilitary organisation.

Adair and his associate John White were expelled from the UDA leadership last September.

Adair has since been returned to jail, but he continued to exercise considerable control over the UDA in the lower Shankill - the part of the organisation known as "C" Company.

LOYALIST FEUD TIMELINE
25 September: Johnny Adair expelled
27 December: Jonathan Stewart murdered
2 January: Roy Green murdered
10 January: Adair returned to prison
1 February: John Gregg and Robert Carson shot dead
5 February: Adair supporters flee homes
The split has been linked to the deaths of four men in the past two months.

Adair's supporters were being blamed for the killing of John Gregg after he returned from Saturday's Rangers game in Glasgow.

The funeral of the 45-year-old leader of the UDA in south east Antrim took place on Thursday.

Robert Carson, a 33-year-old UDA member, also died when the taxi they were travelling in was ambushed near the docks area of Belfast.

Adair's wife, Gina, and John White were among those who left the Shankill after homes in the area were attacked on Wednesday night.

More people were being moved from their homes in the area on Thursday under police supervision.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson
"More people were being moved from their homes under police supervision"
See also:

06 Feb 03 | N Ireland
06 Feb 03 | N Ireland
06 Feb 03 | N Ireland
04 Feb 03 | N Ireland
17 Jan 03 | N Ireland
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