LETHAL TABLETS....What the deadly green Ecstasy tablets may look like

LETHAL TABLETS….What the deadly green Ecstasy tablets may look like

FORENSIC tests are expected to reveal whether the deaths of the eight people in Northern Ireland are linked to a lethal green Ecstasy tablet.

Police believe the tablets are part of a batch being distributed by loyalist paramilitaries.

A funeral service was held for the latest victim on Saturday at Roselawn Crematorium for Alan ‘Alio’ MacKenzie.

The 26-year-old is the son of one-time leading east Belfast UVF figure Alan ‘Bloodnut’ MacKenzie.

Over the past number of weeks, seven people died in Belfast and one in the North West of Northern Ireland.

They were all aged in their 20s and 30s.

The victims are believed to have taken either ‘Castle’ or ‘Crown’ stamped Ecstasy tablets.

It is understood five of the people who died are from east Belfast.

East Belfast PUP councillor Dr John Kyle said there was “shock, grief, fear and concern” about what had happened.

“People are very worried that other young people will suffer the same fate,” he added.

“There is rising anxiety in east Belfast about it.”

A pastor in south Belfast said his community is feeling “deep hurt” that the death of a man could be linked to a lethal batch of drugs.

Pastor Paul Burns knew Gareth Morrison from Sandy Row who died last week.

Police are investigating the deaths of eight people in Northern Ireland to establish whether they took a tablet that they thought was ecstasy.

Pastor Burns said the drug suppliers were “only loyal to the wallet”.

“Those that push the drugs that get arrested are usually people that have addictive substance abuse problems themselves,” he added.

“It is the ones behind, who are pushing these tablets that are not got, you call them paramilitaries, the only thing they are loyal to is the wallet and making money for themselves.

“They are not loyal to their country, they are not loyal to their community, they are peddling death, they are peddling murder and they need to be taken off the streets.”

Pastor Burns said Mr Morrison’s death was a tragedy.

“Gareth was such a lovely fella, I called him the gentle giant,” he said.

“He was always there for everybody.

“There is deep hurt inside my own church, because his family attend my church, there is deep hurt in the community of Sandy Row.

“I would say I am angry, I am angry that such a young man has gone so early in life, because life is given by God to be able to grow up and be able to have children to be able to move forward in life and to be able to live a long life and enjoy life.

“To go in your twenties is a tragedy.”

Detectives investigating the deaths are appealing for anyone with information about those selling or distributing the drugs to contact them on 0845 600 8000.



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