Ulster Defence Association in Warning to English Defence League

A month ago, Hope Not Hate ran an interesting article about plans by the English Defence League to get involved with the marching season in Northern Ireland:

Searchlight, working with the Sunday World in Northern Ireland, has now discovered plans by the EDL to head to Belfast for the biggest event on the Orange Order’s calendar, where it only takes a small spark to ignite violence. Our researchers who monitor the websites and forums that the EDL uses to communicate with supporters uncovered an invitation from someone claiming to be part of the Ulster Defence League to “all EDL, SDL [Scottish Defence League], WDL [Welsh Defence League] members and supporters to Belfast for the loyalist 12th of July celebrations”.

A follow-up report in the latest Searchlight (1), however, notes that loyalist groups such as the UDA are currently keen to present a more moderate image of marching bands, “still openly sectarian historically, but without the antagonistic flags and banners of modern paramilitary groups” – and the last thing they need is the EDL causing trouble (link added):

The EDL’s plans and lack of geographical knowledge were met by howls of derision from loyalists. One senior loyalist told Seachlight “everyone is welcome to the parades, but if they think they’re going to turn Belfast into Nottingham or a Birmingham for the day, they’ll have more than a few angry Taigs to worry about. We’ll stamp them out very quickly. And firmly.

I previously blogged on EDL founder Paul Ray’s enthusiasm for Johnny Adair, a hardline loyalist with a history of violence, and on Ray’s association with Nick Greger, a German ex-neo-Nazi who is friends with Adair. However, Ray’s “English Defence League – St George’s Division” has been disavowed by the “mainstream” EDL, and he apparently now lives in Malta. Adair, meanwhile, now resides in Scotland following an intra-loyalist feud.

(1) Matthew Collins, “UDA Move Threatens EDL Plans”, in Searchlight, No. 417, March 2010, p. 23.