Matt Kincaid

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Matthew Kincaid is a Northern Irish loyalist paramilitary leader and activist. Kincaid is the head of the West Belfast Brigade of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), which has disavowed the wider UDA and is now independent.

Early years[edit]

Kincaid joined the West Belfast Brigade of the UDA at an early age and, as a native of the Highfield estate, a staunchly loyalist area at the top of the Shankill Road and adjacent to the republican Springfield Road, he was assigned to the brigade's "A Company".[1]

Kincaid was one of a number of members of the West Belfast UDA arrested in the wake of the Stevens Inquiries.[2] Along with Winkie Dodds and Eric McKee he was one of a number of prominent young members of the group be imprisoned as a result of the Inquiries.[3] He was sentenced to four years imprisonment for possessing information likely to be of use to terrorists.[4]

Brigadier[edit]

Kincaid took charge of the West Belfast Brigade following the removal of his predecessor Jim Spence.[5] Initially, Kincaid largely followed the lead of Jackie McDonald, the brigadier in South Belfast who had emerged as effective leader of the overall UDA in the aftermath of his removal of Johnny Adair. In particular, Kincaid joined McDonald in his opposition to the activity of the Shoukri brothers and supported attempts to force them out of the UDA.[6] Kincaid also backed the expulsion of Gary Fisher and Tommy Kirkham in 2007 and joined McDonald and other brigadiers in visiting Newtownabbey in an ultimately failed attempt to bring the dissident UDA South East Antrim Brigade back into the mainstream organisation.[7] In 2009 he followed McDonald's lead by ensuring that the West Belfast Brigade took part in the decommissioning process.[8]

Estrangement[edit]

Eventually however, the relationship between Kincaid and McDonald broke down. In 2012 Kincaid released a statement condemning McDonald after the South Belfast leader had been critical of the conduct of the Orange Order and their supporters during the Twelfth that year.[4] Kincaid then clashed with Jimmy Birch, a close friend of McDonald and the brigadier in East Belfast, over an alleged theft of guns by West Belfast Brigade members, with the two having a public argument in the car park of a leisure centre in the east of the city.[9]

In 2013 it was reported that, whilst Kincaid had been telling UDA members that the unpopular Jim Spence had been stood down, in fact the two remained close and celebrated Mo Courtney's daughter's wedding together. Spence was seen by Kincaid as too important due to his control over the brigade's finances.[10] Elements within the West Belfast UDA had become embroiled in an attempt to oust the leadership of the neighbouring North Belfast Brigade and, whilst Kincaid and his right-hand man Eric McKee took no direct role, their refusal to censure Spence and Courtney, who sought active involvement on the side of the dissidents, raised the ire of other UDA leaders.[11]

In February 2014 Kincaid attended a meeting with Jackie McDonald, Jimmy Birch and John Bunting aimed at ending the division. In what was reported as a surprise move, Kincaid rejected their proposal that he remain as leader provided he expelled Spence and McKee, both named as informers by the other brigadiers, and instead decided to support his old friends. Kincaid's decision effectively made the schism between the West Belfast Brigade and the rest of the UDA official.[12] Desmond Lorenz de Silva's report into the murder of Pat Finucane and collusion had led to Spence and McKee being widely named as informers.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lister, David and Jordan, Hugh. (2005). Mad Dog: The Rise and Fall of Johnny Adair and 'C Company'. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84018-890-5, p. 70
  2. ^ Wood, Ian S., Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, p. 145
  3. ^ Wood, Crimes of Loyalty, p. 154
  4. ^ a b Barnes, Ciaran (15 July 2012). "NEW THREAT OF A SPLIT IN UDA ; Rival Factions Row over Jackie McDonald's Comments LOYALISTS' FEUD ANGER ON BOTH SIDES". Belfast Telegraph (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Expulsions are two-fingers to mainstream UDA", Sunday Life, 30 July 2006
  6. ^ Murray, Alan (30 July 2006). "Expulsions are two-fingers to mainstream UDA". Sunday Life (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  7. ^ Rowan, Brian (22 July 2007). "A Time to Be Seen and Heard". Sunday Life (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  8. ^ Rowan, Brian (20 June 2009). "All UDA's Brigades to Give Up Their Guns". Belfast Telegraph (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Loyalist Row Gun Theft Claims". Sunday Life (subscription required). 12 August 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  10. ^ Barnes, Ciaran (14 July 2013). "PARTY IS OVER FOR UDA MAN ; SHANKILL CELEBRATION TERROR CHIEFS TURN OUT IN FORCE but 'super–tout' Spence is Shunned at Party". Sunday Life (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  11. ^ Barnes, Ciaran (17 August 2014). "FEUD SPLITS THE UDA IN SHANKILL; ROW HEATS UP GROUP IN TURMOIL; Row Intensifies Following UDA Shooting at Home of Alleged Dissident Supporter". Sunday Life (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  12. ^ Barnes, Ciaran (2 February 2014). "UDA Chiefs' Unity Talks Are a Flop". Belfast Telegraph (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  13. ^ Barnes, Ciaran (6 January 2013). "UDA IN CRISIS OVER FINUCANE REPORT ; DA SILVA REVIEW TERROR GROUP'S MEMBERS DELIVER ULTIMATUM Leadershipcoup Fears as Spence and McKee Deny Being Informants". Belfast Telegraph (subscription required). Retrieved 20 September 2014.