Northern Ireland

Families flee over 'UDA warnings'

A number of families from a loyalist area of north Belfast have said they are being forced out of their homes by the UDA.

About six families claim they have been warned to leave Tiger's Bay in recent weeks.

The threats have been reported to the police and one man has already left Northern Ireland.

However, sources close to the UDA have told the BBC that no-one is under any threat from the organisation.

Pastor Paul Madden from the Elim Christian Centre has met some of the families who feel intimidated.

"One particular family are 46 years in Tiger's Bay, they are shattered that they have to leave their house," he said.

"They have nowhere to go, no permanent place to live and are moving from place to place.

"Maybe certain people who work with and can speak for these organisations can sit them down and tell them they aren't under any threat, they need to hear it from certain individuals that hold the power," he added.

Threats

The threats some families have received have been reported to the PSNI and the BBC has seen a copy of the police report given to one man who has already left Northern Ireland, indicating he had a mainstream UDA threat against him.

Pastor Madden said meetings to resolve the issue have already taken place.

Police issued a statement which said: "When police are made aware of tensions in an area they will liaise with the local community representatives to discuss any concerns and seek a resolution.

"Local issues require local resolution. Police cannot resolve local issues alone without support from the community," the statement continued.

"Anyone with a particular concern or complaint should contact police directly and their concerns will be investigated."

The BBC contacted sources close to the UDA, asking if it was behind the threats.

The BBC then received a statement from a group called the North Belfast Community Development and Transition Group (NBCD & TG) - which is based in Tiger's Bay.

Inform

"Recent weeks have seen a number of unfounded allegations being directed towards NBCD & TG which seem to question not only the integrity of NBCD &TG but also that of the professional volunteers and partners with whom we work.

"To this end legal advice has been sought. As has been the case in the past issues like this should be faced head on and not from the side lines," the statement continued.

"NBCD &TG have a management committee that you could meet with or indeed the policing partnership also acts as an appropriate mechanism for dealing with these issues.

"I think it is quite clear as to the proper way of dealing with criminality and that is through the police. You need to get the police to inform you as well."