Suspected UVF boss Matthews boots out 10 for drug dealing as he fights to Shore (Road) up in his East Belfast power base

ALLEGED UVF chief Stephen ‘Mackers’ Matthews has issued a rallying war cry “I’m not going anywhere”, a source has claimed.

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The suspected crime boss has moved to reassert his control of the UVF East Belfast UVF amid increasing speculation of him being ousted and rumours that he was considering standing down, according to sources. The Sunday World can reveal he has moved to dispel any doubts about his intentions. Matthews’ grip on his organised crime empire is said to have been shipping, where once he controlled things with an iron grip and sometimes employing ruthless methods. A number of factions had been plotting a takeover and it was thought Matthews, who denies involvement in crime, was losing appetite for the fight. A source has claimed his position was further weakened when he moved out of the UVF heartland of the lower Newtownards Road and set up home in an estate on the outskirts of the city.


It is claimed that following an internal investigation he ordered a purge of drug dealers. It had been believed he sanctioned the dismissal of three dealers but the Sunday World now understands up to 10 people were expelled from the organisation for dealing behind his back. Casualties include his close pal and very good friend of Jamie Bryson and second in command of the East Belfast UVF David ‘Dee’ McConnell, who was accused of putting his hands in the till. According to sources in the east of the city, Matthews had taken his eye off the ball and was losing control of the organisation. We can reveal that he called a batallion meeting and demanded complete loyalty. He warned company commanders he was intent on ‘cleaning up’ the organisation and that everyone would be accountable to him.

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“He asked his commanders for their support, and he got It,” a well informed source told us. “He said if there was anyone who could not back him for whatever reason they were free to leave – no one did.” McConnell (Jamie Bryson’s UVF sidekick) was immediately stood down and despite speculation he was ordered out of the country, he has been allowed to remain in East Belfast – but no longer has the protection of the UVF. In the weeks since his expulsion he has been spending time in Scotland, having been spotted in Ayr where his partner now lives having just had a baby. McConnell (pictured below), for years a constant and loyal sidekick to Matthews, has been forced out after he was accused of dipping his hands in the till at his beloved loyalist football club East Belfast FC.

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The Sunday World understands there’s a hole in the finances at the club and is believed to involve the club’s share of the gate from a money-spinning County Antrim Shield clash with Irish League Champions Linfield. It was a dream draw for the amateur league club, as the teams split the revenue, which would be pennies from heaven for a club outside the top two leagues and who are more used to playing in front of a handful of spectators. Staged at the National Stadium Windsor Park last November the match put East Belfast in the media spotlight with team manager Matthews prowling the touchline with the Blues running out 5-1 winners. Football mad McConnell was also in the dugout. The pair have been at the head of the club for a number of years, overseeing it’s transformation from also-rans into a highly successful amateur league outfit. There are numerous social media pictures of a beaming McConnell beside his mentor in East Belfast FC tracksuits. But convicted druggie McConnell, who once spent £10,000 on a set of veneers for his teeth, couldn’t resist pilfering the gate money. He and another man, also close to Matthews, have been accused and ‘convicted’ of nicking the money.

Davy McConnell UVF ex-second in command in East Belfast

It is unclear as to the amount of cash involved but is thought to run into thousands. His co-accused has been allowed to remain in Belfast because of his closeness to the Matthews family. Mackers is said to be furious and ‘let down’ by the turn of events, especially from sidekick McConnell. Dee’s position had been seen as unassailable. Towards the end of last year and the beginning of 2020 the pair seemed as tight as ever. They both attended a high profile public meeting at the Con Club in East Belfast in protest at the ‘betrayal deal’ which sees the North of Ireland retaining EU trading rules in the wake of Brexit.

Official spokesman for the East Belfast UVF. And PUL spokesman Although he pretends he was never a member of the UVF 🤣🤣🤣

He also reacted angrily to a series of Paramilitary Crime Task Force raids on a number of homes, including his own, accusing the authorities of targeting and demonizing the loyalist community. In recent months cracks have appeared in the leadership structure with increased speculation about Matthews’ intentions. There was some speculation the recently married crime boss was considering stepping back and considering leaving the country. All of which has been put to bed.


The Sunday World understands there were at least two factions vying for control in the east of the city. According to sources, Matthews is hopeful that by reasserting his control he will see off any threat to his leadership. McConnell was botted out in May following an internal investigation which resulted in him being accused of pocketing cash from the organisation’s lucrative drug rackets. Three UVF drug dealers were expelled for not paying their dues and when it emerged McConnell had been pocketing the cash it sparked a further investigation into the missing football money.

If Jamie Bryson was not a member of the UVF then why is he pictured here?

McConnell oversaw the drug operation when it emerged his foot soldiers were dealing on the side the writing was on the wall. “This is huge move that has not gone down very well at All,” one loyalist source said in May. “Dee considered himself untouchable, so much so that a few of his former comrades claim he was doing business behind his best pal’s back. “A lot of things can be forgiven in the paramilitary world, but when someone is thought to be sneakily challenging the leadership and making their own moves to make cash, it is simply not tolerated. And he warned it would result in splits in the organisation. On top of inside pressure, the gang lost a six figure sum of cash and drugs in a series of police raids which brought the missing football cash into sharper focus.

“Mackers is now convinced Dee has been stitching him up for years, the only way back for Dee is if Mackers either stands down or leaves,” said our source. On Saturday night August 8th a spokesman for Matthews said: “Mr Matthews denies any allegations of criminality and membership of the UVF. “He has no knowledge of the incident as described”

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the EXCLUSIVE original story 


Alleged UVF chief Stephen ‘Mackers’ misses out on call-up to 50-year celebration for terror group and its sister organisation at Raven in two weeks time

ALLEGED UVF chief Stephen Matthews has been snubbed over a 50-year ‘celebration’ of the terrorist group.

ALLEGED UVF chief Stephen Matthews has been snubbed over a 50-year ‘celebration’ of the terrorist group.

Plans have been laid for a half century celebration in an East Belfast social club at the end of this month with a host of paramilitary veterans expected to attend. The event is the brainchild of a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) veteran in partnership with a long standing representative of its sister organisation the Red Hand Commando (RHC). Matthews, who denies membership of the UVF or any involvement in crime, has been described as the East Belfast Brigadier of the terror group. His position has been seen unassailable, according to sources, but in recent months his authority has been questioned and there is increased speculation about his future. The fact he has been left off the guest list for such a high profile UVF event will raise eyebrows and cast an even longer shadow over his leadership.

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The event at the Raven Social Club is billed as “50 Years East Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force & Red Hand Commandos Hand Commando” and will run from 2pm – 5pm on July 25th with memorabilia from the conflict on show as well as artefacts from Long Kesh. A flute band will put on a performance and organisers have warned that while the bar will be open, people will need to observe social distancing protocols. But it is the Matthews snub that will further heighten speculation about his position. The organisation has come under pressure since the murder in January 2019 of prominent loyalist Ian Ogle. A number of people have been charged in relation to Mr Ogle’s death, his death sparked unprecedented public criticism of the leadership. The decision in recent weeks to stand down long time close associate and second in command of the East Belfast UVF Dee McConnell coupled with Matthews’ decision to move out of the UVF heartland in Belfast has only added to the instability.


He currently lives on the outskirts of the city and metaphorically a million miles from his one time power base. There is also mounting speculation that having been recently married he is looking for a new life. A regular visitor to Benidorm, where he has a caravan, people believe he may be ready to cash in his chips and settle for life in the sun.

“The UVF of the Troubles was a different organisation to what it became under Matthews”

One well placed source told the Sunday World this week that outspoken opposition to the UVF is unprecedented. “You would never have heard a word about Mackers, but now people are openly hostile to the UVF which makes the celebration at the Raven all the more ironic,” he said.

Prominent loyalist Ian Ogal who was murdered by the UVF

“The UVF of the Troubles was a different organisation to what it became under Matthews, back in the day it commanded huge respect as defenders of the loyalist community, under him it became a crime gang.” Matthews earned a reputation as an uncompromising crime boss. He demanded unstinting loyalty as his organisation controlled drug and extortion rackets in the east of the city. Another reason he has seen the writing on the wall is increased attention from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) and impending legislation granting increased powers for the seizure of property and assets perceived to be the assets of crime.

Dee McConnell has been recently stood down as Second in Command of the East Belfast UVF

“Mackers is low key, but some of those below him have flaunted their cars and jewellery, he knows it’s only a matter of time,” said our source. A senior security source once described Matthews to the Sunday World as one of the most dangerous crime bosses in the North of Ireland. He has become a priority for the security services and remains – despite questions over his leadership, as a major crime figure. “The fact he has not been invited to this do in The Raven is an indication as to how far his star has fallen, don’t be mistaken he is still the boss but he is facing a power struggle.” The Sunday World understands there have been a series of meetings involving senior UVF figures with the leadership high on the agenda.


With McConnell gone Matthews has been left vulnerable. We are aware a sizeable faction of UVF men have thrown their weight behind a one time senior UVF figure seen as a potential candidate to seize control of the organisation. Last night a spokesperson for Mr Matthews said: “Once again it appears that there is a deliberate effort to create disharmony within the loyalist community, and to place a focus on Mr Matthews. “This is a non-story, with no basis in fact or reality, which is being contrived by anonymous sources seeking to undermine the positive work ongoing within East Belfast. Mr Matthews denies any allegations of involvement in any criminality and/or membership of any proscribed organisation.”

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the EXCLUSIVE original story 

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) flags prompt feud fear

Billy Wright leader of the Loyaist Ulster Volunteer Force the (LVF)

FEARS are growing of another loyalist feud erupting in a Co Antrim town. Tensions are running high after the recent erection of LVF flags in Ballymena.

The flags have been put up on lampposts in the Doury Road estate, an area regarded locally as a UDA stronghold. The LVF flags were put up in the Camberwell Way part of the estate. The move is being blamed on an LVF faction who recently moved from Co Antrim. “They are blow ins,” revealed our source. “Whether they moved of their own free will or where put out no one knows. “But there is no way the UDA will put up with that.


“Doury Road has always been an area with big support for the UDA.” There are fears that the actions will antagonise UDA members into action. “It is only a small group but I’ve been told more are expected to arrive from Antrim,” added our source. “Hopefully nothing kicks off but people with authority in the organisation are monitoring the situation closely.”

There has been no love lost between the rival paramilitary organisations over the years. The LVF built up a strong affiliation with Johnny Adair’s Shankill Road UFF unit. And it was the unveiling of an LVF flag outside a bar during a show of strength which sparked the vicious feud which ultimately led to Adair’s exile. Now there are fears that Ballymena could be about to become the centre of another violent loyalist dispute.

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the original story.

Maghaberry prisoners drinking hand sanitiser

PRISON chiefs are facing a hand sanitiser shortage as inmates are drinking it!

Alcohol-based solutions are now banned in Maghaberry Gaol maximum security facility after it emerged prisoners were necking it rather than cleaning their hands. The Prison Service has instigated a strict lockdown regime which has seen near zero coronaviris infections, but they now face a problem of sanitiser dependent prisoners. The Sunday World also understands inmates are sniffing it in an attempt to get a hit. The Prison Service has been sourcing hand cleaners that are non-alcohol-based. Prisoners are notoriously innovative when it comes to booze and drugs but when it comes to protection from coronaviris prison bosses have unwittingly handed them access to a free supply of drink.

But with it comes enormous health risks. Consuming products like hand sanitisers is not unique to the current health crisis but has been a current problem. Brand name bottles of sanitiser are at least 60 to 65% alcohol, the equivalent of two shots of 80 proof vodka. Hand sanitiser contains ethanol alcohol as well. This is the same substance within one glass of wine that can create a buzz when you drink it. Health risks include damage to internal organs, vision problems, memory loss and alcohol poisoning.

Unfortunately, there are ways to steer clear of the bad taste of hand sanitiser. Many who abuse the substance have begun adding salt to separate the alcohol from the gel or add in mouth wash to alter the taste. They’ve also begun inhaling it which can also cause serious side side effects and health issues including nausea and vomiting. Prison sources have told the Sunday World that prisoners quickly saw the opportunity. “It’s not rocket science, Alcohol is the magic word,” our source told us. The Sunday World contacted the Prison Service for comment but the was no response.

With many thanks to the Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the original story 

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