Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Frank McCoubrey comes in from the cold…

Tue 13 November 2012, 3:05pm

And in other council news, Frank McCoubrey – formerly of the UDA aligned UDP – comes into the DUP on Belfast City Council. The UDP disbanded some years ago of course, when someone forgot to re-register the party with the Electoral Commission.

His defection, as Squinter calls it is from the UUP whip, which he rather surreptitiously took up at some point before 2009.

It’s an interesting ‘acquisition’ for the DUP, which has struggled in the past to garner enough votes in what was/is the heart of Unionist West Belfast (until re-organisation kicks in that is). to take one of the six Assembly seats on offer there.

McCoubrey’s attractiveness is his influence and grind with a community that’s become [what do you mean become? Always was, surely? - ed] rather disaffected from party politics. But in a constituency like West Belfast, or even more so in a redrawn North Belfast, it’s a risky move.

In the past Alderman McCoubrey’s been inclined to plotting his own adventurous course, and his past connections to the UDP are almost certain to be exploited by the party’s political opponents.

A bit of a risk then, but in the case of the DUP it seems to be something of a calculated one to shore up its weak spots and build for a new seat. Time will tell if it was a wise one.

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Comments (51)

  1. A high risk strategy. And an odd form of “outreach”.
    But there IS a unionist quota in West Belfast.

    What do you think?
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  2. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    I don’t think they do FJH… Try this:

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  3. GEF (profile) says:

    Interesting, DUP now have 16 members on the council equal to SF who also have 16 councillors on the BCC.

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  4. In terms of previous votes youre right. But in part thats because of superb SF vote management and I suspect that unionists dont realise that they are in with a shout.
    Its about Demographics and motivation and a lack of motivation in other quarters……a possibility.
    The unionist vote is maybe about 2% under the “demographic”.

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  5. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    and there is a falling turnout… without Gerry’s name to top the bill.

    btw do we still all think the new boundaries are dead in the water?

    More on topic, I think there is a little more effort from both unionist parties to integrate loyalist communities, prob not enough yet. But I’m sure the archives would show occasional instances of the DUP being less than complementary of Cllr McCoubery!

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  6. jthree (profile) says:

    Who can forget Frank’s entirely plausible explanation of how he came to be sitting on a stage from which various members of C Company were blazing away with automatic weapons?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/910559.stm

    “I went to the festival with my three children and my intentions were to have a great day with the children and go home.

    “But with some of the events which did occur things were starting to get a bit hot and heavy. People were starting to panic. I was on the stage. I made my speech, I sat down again and the masked men stood in front of me.

    “I don’t think it would have been very smart of me to push a gunman out of the way and walk off the stage like people said I should have done.

    “If I had known what was going to happen I wouldn’t have been on that stage.”

    It could have happened to the best of us on a wee day out with the weans.

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  7. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    Does this have any implications for the lord mayor post distribution, or is it likely with next time in mind?

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  8. SK (profile) says:

    This should be good.

    Less than a week ago, we had unionists queuing up to put the boot into nationalists who had the audacity to condemn the murder of David Black: “How can you condemn current terrorists while voting for a party that harbours former ones?”, etc.

    Are we going to see a stampede of unionist contributors, all falling over themselves to tear strips out of the DUP for welcoming this guy into the fold?

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  9. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    SK “How can you condemn current terrorists while voting for a party that harbours former ones?”

    SK, can you give details of any terrorist convictions that Frank McCoubrey has???

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  10. carl marks (profile) says:

    SK (profile)
    13 November 2012 at 5:32 pm

    This should be good.

    Less than a week ago, we had unionists queuing up to put the boot into nationalists who had the audacity to condemn the murder of David Black: “How can you condemn current terrorists while voting for a party that harbours former ones?”, etc.

    Are we going to see a stampede of unionist contributors, all falling over themselves to tear strips out of the DUP for welcoming this guy into the fold?
    betcha the old double standards thing rules, wonder what reasons will be peddled out to expalin why ?

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  11. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    Has Frank McCoubrey made any comment re his support for, or opposition to UDA terrorism since joining mainstream unionism?

    If he supports historical UDA terrorism, in the way that the Sinners support PIRA terrorism, then the DUP are certainly being hypocritical and the hovering nationalist vultures above have a point.

    Do we know of any statements one way or the other?

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  12. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    The DUP understand that Frank McCoubrey is a valuable asset and a man who will use his new party to campaign for the things that really matter to the lives of hard-pressed, salt-of-the-earth, working-class loyalist types:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20317461

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  13. SK (profile) says:

    So that stampede of indignant, anti-terrorist unionists never seemed to materialise. Now there is a shock.

    “SK, can you give details of any terrorist convictions that Frank McCoubrey has???”

    Ardoyne Unionist,

    No. But then again, I can’t give any details of Gerry Adams terrorist convictions either.

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  14. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    Perhaps you can give some details of your indignant anti terrorist posts about Mr Adams?

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  15. SK (profile) says:

    Covenanter

    I have no problem with former terrorists entering mainstream politics. Unionists, on the other hand, claim that they’re disgusted by it.

    So why are they all?

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  16. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    If you have no problem with former terrorists entering mainstream politics then why are you getting so exercised by this individual? Is your problem mainly with unionists?

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  17. SK (profile) says:

    I’m merely bemused by the double standard. Where have all those outraged unionists from last week slunk off to?

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  18. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Just in case anyone is unclear, you’re only allowed to call someone a terrorist if they have convictions.

    Unless they’re Gerry Adams, in which case they have to “come clean about their past”.

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  19. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    It makes complete sense.

    If I was connected to the UDA or UVF the DUP would be my first choice too.

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  20. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    As I pointed out above I think the unionist attitude to Mr McCoubrey should depend very much on his current attitude towards terrorism both past and present. Unionists detest SF because of their disgusting support for past murders. Therefore there would only be a double standard in this case if McCoubrey supports past UDA murders.

    Does he?

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  21. SK (profile) says:

    The nastiness directed at those nationalists wishing to express their condolences for Mr Black last week came as a bit of a shock. According to countless angry unionists, voting for a party that harbours terrorists is a de facto endorsement of terrorism.

    I didn’t think it would come back to bite them in the arse quite so quickly.

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  22. SK (profile) says:

    “Does he?”

    Covenanter,

    A cursory google suggests that he has done nothing to repudiate his terrorist past.

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  23. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    “The nastiness directed at those nationalists wishing to express their condolences for Mr Black last week came as a bit of a shock.”

    I think it was the fact that the same nationalists were happy enough to endorse the murder of Mr Black’s colleagues pre ceasefire that caused the anger. You knew that of course.

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  24. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    “A cursory google suggests that he has done nothing to repudiate his terrorist past.”

    Does it bring anything up to suggest that he is proud of it Sinner style?

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  25. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    SK, no retraction of your accusation made at Mr McCoubrey, interesting!!!

    SK, is it now slugger policy that posters can throw around unfounded accusations???

    Now that is really interesting!!!

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  26. SK (profile) says:

    “I think it was the fact that the same nationalists were happy enough to endorse the murder of Mr Black’s colleagues pre ceasefire that caused the anger.”

    ____

    The implication being that post-ceasefire Sinn Fein voters are okay in your (particularly staunch) book?

    That’s very generous of you.

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  27. SK (profile) says:

    SK, no retraction of your accusation made at Mr McCoubrey, interesting!!!

    SK, is it now slugger policy that posters can throw around unfounded accusations???

    ______

    AU,

    Will you be giving Gerry “I was never convicted of anything” Adams a similar benefit of the doubt?

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  28. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    Just for you SK, here is a Newsletter article which might help you:
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/headlines/sinn-fein-members-with-ira-links-1-2738798

    A BBC Hearts and Minds programme broadcast after the last Assembly election complied a list which stated that 19 out of 29 Sinn Fein MLAs had served in prison sentences for terrorist offences (well, I’m not sure “served” is the correct word given all the prison releases and protection of the top-dogs by MI5). Then there is the fact that we have the top PIRA commanders also in charge of Sinn Fein.

    It’s not even remotely comparable.

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  29. Submariner (profile) says:

    SK you do realise that Covenanter is Blairmayne don’t you?

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  30. SK (profile) says:

    “SK you do realise that Covenanter is Blairmayne don’t you?”

    ______

    To be fair, he is thus far the only unionist willing to acknowledge the hypocrisy of the DUP in this instance.

    The silence from the others speaks volumes.

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  31. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I don’t mind if unionists want to have individuals with a long association with the UDA in their party.

    But I do wish they would pick a consistent position on paramilitarism and the past.

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  32. SK (profile) says:

    “But I do wish they would pick a consistent position on paramilitarism and the past.”

    That is precisely the point.

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  33. Why the big surprise about McCoubrey joining the DUP? After all, the same Party isn’t at all shy about its support for secterianism in the Occupied Six Counties…

    McCoubrey himself strongly supported the murderous activities of the UDA and as such cannot get away from that fact!

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  34. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    now now, thats a wee bit of pot calling kettle black there Martin.

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  35. TheGoblinPrince (profile) says:

    This does stink of rank hypocrisy by the DUP. You can argue about whether McCoubrey was a terrorist, endorsed terrorism, distanced himself from terrorism or whatever. But he was a member of a party that was affiliated with a terrorist organisation. It doesn’t look good and I can’t see how unionism can justify it.

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  36. carl marks (profile) says:

    ArdoyneUnionist

    So which is it , have you a problem with people with historical connections to terror groups being elected or not, do you have the same contempt for unionists who vote for these people as you have for nationalists who vote for those with connections to terror groups, or are you exercising the crudest of double standards?

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  37. carl marks (profile) says:

    ArdoyneUnionist (profile)
    14 November 2012 at 11:08 am

    now now, thats a wee bit of pot calling kettle black there Martin.

    Good one from you!

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  38. PaddyReilly (profile) says:

    FJH

    The percentage of non-Catholic Christians in the West Belfast Constituency, according to the 2001 census, is 13.32%.

    Census takers have added to these a number of those who declared themselves to be without religion and come up with an estimated protestant community of 16.22%.

    Nevertheless the Unionist candidates in Assembly elections gain less than 12% of the vote. Why is this? I can think of three explanations

    1) The census is 11 years out of date. However, Unionists failed to win a seat in 1998 and were short a quota in 2003, so this does not explain anything.

    2) The census takers’ estimate was wrong. Over NI as a whole I find that the Unionist vote corresponds fairly closely with the percentage of those who voluntarily declare themselves to be Protestants: those who are put in the category by census-takers/fakers are more likely to vote Alliance etc.

    3) West Belfast is home to the largest number of Protestant bred Republicans in NI. I would imagine these to be people who, though brought up in a nominally Protestant family, possibly mixed, then married a Catholic and took up residence in West Belfast. This means the census takers assign them to the Protestant community category but they do not vote Unionist.

    Whatever the case (it may be a combination of all three) there is no psephological data showing a Unionist quota in West Belfast. Unionists have gained less than 14% in every election since the constituency gained its present shape.

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  39. SK (profile) says:

    Second day into this thread and still not a single utterance of condemnation from those terrorist abhorring unionist contributors.

    You shower of hypocrites.

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  40. Reader (profile) says:

    SK: Second day into this thread and still not a single utterance of condemnation from those terrorist abhorring unionist contributors.
    You’re moving the goalposts. Your initial challenge was just aimed at “According to countless angry unionists, voting for a party that harbours terrorists is a de facto endorsement of terrorism. ” You might as well name them, instead of putting words in the mouths of the rest of us.
    As for your revised challenge, shouldn’t it also be open to ‘terrorist abhorring’ *nationalist* contributors? They, after all, don’t seem to be much more consistent.
    However, if it will give you comfort: I abhor terrorism, I have never voted for the UDP; I have never voted for the DUP; and McCoubrey’s leap has changed nothing so far as I am concerned.

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  41. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    “The implication being that post-ceasefire Sinn Fein voters are okay in your (particularly staunch) book?”

    That is not the implication at all. Post ceasefire Sinn Fein voters are endorsing that party’s political position, which is that the PIRA murder campaign was justified. Therefore they are a very long way from being okay in my book.

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  42. Dont Drink Bleach (profile) says:

    Has Frank McCoubrey ever been in the UDA?

    Has he ever been convicted of any crime?

    If not, what’s the problem here? He’s not exactly Paul Butler or Gerry Kelly.

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  43. carl marks (profile) says:

    Dont Drink Bleach

    Has Frank McCoubrey ever been in the UDA?

    Has he ever been convicted of any crime?

    poltical spokesman for UDA terror group
    (Although I suspect that UDA membership would in your warped worldview makes someone a “counter terrorist”)
    Shares Platform with Loyalist terrorists.
    Same proof as we have for GA , take it you have no problem with him then.
    Or can we take it that you are a hypocrite???

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  44. Dont Drink Bleach (profile) says:

    Sharing a platform or photo op with a terrorist is now on the same level as organising and carrying out murders???

    Brid?

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/drumcree-still-a-stalemate-14385570.html?action=Popup&ino=21

    Durky?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/4522907.stm

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  45. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Well, a man could have been a member of the UDA until ’92 and not have seen the inside of a court for it because the state did not see fit to proscribe the sectarian gang until then.

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  46. Dont Drink Bleach (profile) says:

    andnowwhat:
    Well, a man could have been a member of the UDA until ’92 and not have seen the inside of a court for it because the state did not see fit to proscribe the sectarian gang until then.

    It was no different than Sinn Fein – which was never proscribed.

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  47. carl marks (profile) says:

    Dont Drink Bleach (profile)
    14 November 2012 at 10:49 pm
    Sharing a platform or photo op with a terrorist is now on the same level as organising and carrying out murders???

    So you are to say the least guilty of hypocrisy.
    Of course those whose lives the UDA ruined when they murdered their loved ones for no other reason than they were Catholics might find the difference unimportant.
    Tell me you made the outrageous statement that loyalist group’s where not terrorists but counter terrorists, I have also noticed that you use the legal sounding word “execution” to describe loyalist murders,
    Please explain how you can describe, McGurks, Grey steel and all the rest of those squalid sectarian mass murders as counter terrorist operations. What is your rational, how does Gusty Spence and his killings fit your theory of loyalist violence being only retaliatory,

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  48. Dont Drink Bleach (profile) says:

    carl marks,

    Please explain how you can describe, McGurks, Grey steel and all the rest of those squalid sectarian mass murders as counter terrorist operations. What is your rational, how does Gusty Spence and his killings fit your theory of loyalist violence being only retaliatory,

    .
    Or, how about we stay on-topic?

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  49. carl marks (profile) says:

    DDB
    Or how about you explain at least (since you can’t or won’t answer my other points) tell me why you think Adams is unworthy to be in office even though he has no convictions and McCoubrey is innocent because he has no convictions, Is that on topic enough for you.

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  50. carl marks (profile) says:

    DB
    Of course those whose lives the UDA ruined when they murdered their loved ones for no other reason than they were Catholics might find the difference unimportant.
    This bit is pretty much on topic, Care to elaborate why you seem to think the victims of loyalist violence are less important than the victims of republican violence.

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  51. Dont Drink Bleach (profile) says:

    carl marks:
    tell me why you think Adams is unworthy to be in office even though he has no convictions and McCoubrey is innocent because he has no convictions

    .
    When did I say that?

    Care to elaborate why you seem to think the victims of loyalist violence are less important than the victims of republican violence.

    .
    And where did I say that?

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