This is a pretty solid indication that the PSNI are not laying the blame at the door of the UVF and as such it makes the prevailing narrative of the day- that the UVF was to blame for these threats- look rather foolish.
The first person to blame the UVF was Sinn Fein’s South Belfast MLA. It is also a close associate of Mr O’Muilleoir that is behind the anti-Unionist campaign in south/east Belfast under the guise of a ‘residents group’.
This group announced themselves only a short time ago and the allegations of UVF threats fits neatly with their agenda. As predicated Sinn Fein’s colleagues in the pan-nationalist coalition, the Alliance party and SDLP, were more than happy to jump onboard Sinn Fein’s erroneous allegation in an attempt to politically point score.
If someone wanted to create today’s situation, they wouldn’t have had to work awfully hard. Quite simply an individual seeking to create tension could have anonymously made this threat. That appears to be what has happened given that the PSNI are unable to trace the origin to any organisation or person either via evidence or intelligence.
Of course once Sinn Fein jumped onboard the issue and levelled the blame at the east Belfast UVF- in a clear attempt to lay the ground for a politically motivated NCA onslaught against ex combatants linked to that group- then it effortlessly moved up the chain into the mainstream media and by 10am it was being reported as fact that the UVF had intimidated families from their homes. Yet bizarrely the only source for this assessment was not the PSNI or any statutory agency, but rather those in Sinn Fein with a political agenda.
In the afternoon the East Belfast Community Initiative, which mediates on behalf of ex-combatants linked to east Belfast UVF, categorically denied that the UVF had been involved and called for an assessment of the genesis of this threat.
By dinner time the whole basis of the story began to crumble when the PSNI refused to even remotely support Sinn Fein’s allegations in relation to the UVF.
There was previously a similar allegation in July that the UVF in east Belfast threatened council workers. The East Belfast Community Initiative came straight out and challenged that bogus story being pushed by hostile political elements and all of a sudden it vanished.
The ex combatants linked to east Belfast UVF have engaged recently in a plethora of positive transitional work and indeed played a key role in ensuring the 11th July passed off peacefully after the disgraceful targeting of Unionist cultural expression zones in the east of the city. It would be entirely counter productive for that group to undo all the positive work by issuing such threats.
The mainstream media should now revert the spotlight onto Sinn Fein and ask them to justify their public allegations. The PSNI also need to provide clarity as to the origin of this threat.
The East Belfast Community Initiative has been categorical in stating that this threat is bogus. The onus is now on those making these sinister allegations, for political and policing purposes, to support their allegations with facts.
It is easy to demonise an empty chair or a voiceless group, but the ex combatants of the east Belfast UVF- through positive engagement with the East Belfast Community Initiative- have publicly refuted these allegations and at this point in time there is no evidence to suggest they are lying. Which begs a much bigger question, who is really behind this threat and for what purpose?