Buying off paramilitaries?

After the resounding success of his previous meetings with the leadership of Sinn Féin (that’s sarcasm, BTW), Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell is back – this time to negotiate the price to get the UDA to ‘stop’ their paramilitary and criminal activity – £70million seemingly.. roughly 3 years of a democratically elected Assembly, although, I’d suggest the cost to any democratic principles that are left will be higher than that.

From the report –

Downing Street confirmed Mr Blair`s chief of staff Jonathan Powell was meeting representatives of the UDA in the latest round of talks but insisted the cost of any scheme had not been agreed.

A spokesman was also adamant the loyalist group would have to give up paramilitarism and criminality if there was to be any progress.

“The discussions are at an early stage,” he said.
“However the line we are taking is the same as we are taking with Sinn Fein. All of this is dependent on an end to criminality and paramilitary activity.

“As for the programme itself, they may come to us with certain figures but no deal has been struck.

“We will certainly listen to what they have to say but I would stress the figure of £70 million is the figure they want.”

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