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Terror group denies threats against journalists, say clergymen

Peter VanA terror group has denied issuing threats to journalists, according to two clergymen who have met with its leaders.

HTFP reported earlier this month how loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland had issued threats against journalists working for Belfast’s Sunday Life, as well as its Dublin-based Independent News and Media sister title Sunday World.

The journalists in question were warned of “imminent attacks” against them – including a planned under-car booby trap – with the Police Service of Northern Ireland taking the threat seriously.

The titles’ sister daily the Belfast Telegraph has now reported the South East Antrim UDA, a breakaway faction of the group, has now denied responsibility for the threats.

According to the Bel Tel, former Church of Ireland primate Alan Harper and Methodist minister Gary Mason asked “a trusted intermediary” to meet with the leadership of the group.

In a statement, the clergymen told the BBC: “The outcome of those meetings, relayed to the two clergy persons, is that there are no threats to any politicians or journalists from this grouping and that the threat did not emanate from them in the first place.”

But, according to the Bel Tel, sources said they believe the threats emanate from “elements within” the South East Antrim UDA.

Last week the Bel Tel, Irish News and Belfast News Letter joined forces to issue a public condemnation of such threats.

A journalist at the Belfast-based News was also notified by PSNI of a dissident Irish republican plot to attack them last month.

INM publisher Peter Vandermeersch, pictured, previously said: “We will, of course, work with the police to ensure our staff’s safety. Threats against journalists should not be tolerated in any free society.”

He added: “It is depressing that thugs still believe they can silence the press through intimidation. The Sunday World and Sunday Life will continue to publish stories that shed light in dark corners.”