Police raid UUP headquarters

In the wake of David Burnside’s fulsome support of the activities of the ARA, the police raid their headquarters in pursuit of Jim Gray’s assets. Ouch! On the other hand at least it proves it’s not just Sinn Fein they’re after, after all!

  • Daz Automatic
  • The dog

    You really couldn’t make this up

    ASSETS RECOVERY AGENCY MUST TARGET NORTHERN IRELAND’S ‘GODFATHERS’
    The Assets Recovery Agency must do more to seize the assets of all individuals involved in paramilitarism and criminality in Northern Ireland, Ulster Unionist Westminster Candidate for South Antrim, David Burnside, has insisted.

    Referring to news that bank accounts of the former UDA Leader, John Gray, had been frozen yesterday, Mr Burnside said: “While this is clearly a welcome development, the Assets Recovery Agency has yet to home-in on the ‘godfathers’ of Northern Ireland’s mafia-class – those at the top of the chain who line their pockets through organised crime, money laundering, armed robberies and racketeering.

    As Mr Burnside has pointed out in Parliament time and time again, the Agency is not even touching the criminal empires of people like . . . . from Castlereagh council

    So now there is suspicion of a link between the UDA and UUP (what was that job Burnside went for with the UDA) will we get all of the media and unionists rush to judgement

  • PaddyCanuck

    No smoke without fire!!!

  • Enquirer

    As Mr Burnside has pointed out in Parliament time and time again, the Agency is not even touching the criminal empires of people like . . . . from Castlereagh council

    I’m intrigued to know whom this is

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    The link above,
    http://www.uup.org.uk/welcome_criminality2.htm
    (assuming there used to be something there)

    now returns
    HTTP Error 404

    404 Not Found

    The Web server cannot find the file or script you asked for. Please check the URL to ensure that the path is correct.

    Please contact the server’s administrator if this problem persists.

    Coincidence? lol

  • Killian

    one word, schadenfrau.

  • Daz Automatic
  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    To be fair having read the article, the allegations have been made against one man and the party don’t seem to be implicated. It does seem to be a bit convenient that it should happen in the run up to an election…

  • fair_deal

    Maybe the reason the UUP were so angry about republican criminality was that they weren’t getting a cut of the action 😉

  • JD

    schadenfreude

    And I say that with none of the above.

  • Indeed

    Decent people………

  • Bothways

    Ironically, the Shinners won’t be able to say one damn word about this – because that would involve lending credibility to the PSNI.
    One more reason they should have joined the Policing Board?

  • George T

    Hilarious! Normally I’d say innocent untill proven guilty, but after the UUP reaction to Stormontgate I know know there is no smoke without fire!

  • George T

    No, Bothways, the Shinners will love it!

  • Tom Griffin

    It does seem to be a bit convenient that it should happen in the run up to an election…

    Who benefits? (and has influence with the PSNI, a fairly narrow field I would have thought?)

  • Bothways

    Oh I know they’ll love it – I’m loving it too 🙂
    But what can they actually SAY about it? That’s the thing. If they take the ‘no smoke without fire’ line on anything, especially a police investigation, then the whataboutery will blow back in their faces.
    I reckon we’ll soon see the weird spectacle of Gerry giving a strangulated “Wait and see” response to what is potentially the biggest PR disaster to hit unionism in years.
    Like I said, the stupid bastard should have signed up for policing when he had the chance.

  • john

    Fridays news….

    Ulster Unionist MLA’s home and offices raided for money laundering.

    Loyalist drive by shooting in Rosetta

    Loyalist bomb making equipment seized in Bushmills

    Policewoman says she was raped by fellow officer in East Belfast station

    And we talk about Republican criminality.

  • Bothways

    Well no, right now we’re talking about loyalist, unionist and police criminality.
    What’s your point?
    That republicans never do anything wrong because themmuns do?
    That the media are ignoring this story you’ve just heard via the media?
    Sad.

  • kitty

    ridays news….

    Ulster Unionist MLA’s home and offices raided for money laundering.

    Loyalist drive by shooting in Rosetta

    Loyalist bomb making equipment seized in Bushmills

    Policewoman says she was raped by fellow officer in East Belfast station

    Very good. You forgot to add:
    LVF murdered Lisa Dorrian -David Ervine
    Christian Taxi Firm aatcked by Loyalists.

    Yes just today’s ‘headlines’. But why are they such QUIET headlines?

  • Henry94

    We should avoid the temptation to rush to judgement but clearly this is bigger than Watergate.

  • john

    “That republicans never do anything wrong because themmuns do?”

    Just trying to tease out why Unionists consistanty focus on alleged Republican criminality when they have so many criminals within their own community

    Put the blinkers back on!!

  • hensons

    What the Shinners said;

    East Belfast Sinn Féin Representative Deborah Devenny this afternoon contrasted the approach of unionist politicians to the raid on the UUP offices in Castlereagh with their approach to the raid on the Sinn Féin Offices in Stormont.

    Ms Devenny said:

    “When the Sinn Féin Offices in Stormont were raided the PSNI had briefed the media in advance to ensure maximum publicity and senior Special Branch figures including the DUPs Bill Lowry briefed selected members of the media on the operation.

    “Today the offices of the UUP were raided in Castlereagh Council and the home of a senior elected representative was also raided as part of an investigation into money laundering. Correctly no media were informed until a fter the raid was completed. As republicans well know the fact that the PSNI raid a home or office does not imply any guilt. However what is stark is the approach to this news by the unionist political parties.

    “In the wake of the Stormont raids despite the fact that nobody has been convicted of any offence and many of the original charges have since been dropped, the UUP collapsed the political institutions and the DUP made false allegation after false allegation accusing republicans of criminality and spying.

    “It will seem to many within the broad nationalist community that an entirely different approach has been adopted today by the political leaders of unionism in the wake of these raids.” ENDS

  • Jacko

    Smacks of DUP dirty tricks to me. And as republican posters will be aware, I am never one to rush to judgement.

  • Henry94

    Jacko

    How would the DUP cause the PNSI to raid the office of a rival political party?

  • PatMcLarnon

    One is almost tempted to adopt the position of Copeland and other unionists when dealing with republicans in that he is quite obviously guilty until proven innocent.

  • George T

    “We should avoid the temptation to rush to judgement but clearly this is bigger than Watergate.”

    That was great Henry, very funny!!

  • Tom Griffin

    Perhaps the UUP ought to be looking at the collapse of the executive in a different light now.

  • Gum

    Will be interesting to see if David Trimble can avoid the usual hypocrasy

  • Alex S

    How would the DUP cause the PNSI to raid the office of a rival political party?

    Posted by: Henry94 at April 15, 2005 06:38 PM

    Henry, you make an allegation concerning financial miss-conduct, because it involves a politician the authorities will want to be seen to act correctly and given the nature of the information the only way the authorities can adequately investigate the matter is to seize computers, documents etc for examination, only then will they interview. With 3 weeks to go the damage is done to Mr Copeland. Simple.

  • Henry94

    Alex S

    So if no charges follow the raid can we expect the person making the allegations to face charges?

    Of course we should be clear that nothing has been proved yet and nobody has been charged.

    McGIMPSEY: CORK ARRESTS PROVE IRA INVOLVEMENT IN NORTHERN BANK RAID

    Senior Ulster Unionist Michael McGimpsey has said the arrests in Cork constitute “proof” that the IRA did carry out the Northern Bank raid. Mr McGimpsey has called on Sinn Fein to be excluded from the political process by the British and Irish governments.

  • Bothways

    Well I wondered how the Shinners would get an angle on this one that didn’t involve appearing to endorse policing in any way – and they’ve managed it!
    That statement brings the issue down to media briefings – so laying the ground for another conspiracy theory, preferably involving the Sunday Independent…

  • GavBelfast

    The practically orgasmic contributions here from one side concerning a raid on the other side (and the fact that the same thing would probably also have occurred had it been the other way round) are so, so depressing.

    That the term “catch yourselves on” is a bit of an Ulsterism was well invented for in this place.

    What does the mad rush to show-off by taking cheap shots in this way actually achieve?

    It all shows such impoverished thought.

  • Tom Griffin

    Perhaps the bigger picture is that this raid, like the raid on Sinn Fein, will undermine what’s left of the GFA.

  • Alex S

    So if no charges follow the raid can we expect the person making the allegations to face charges?

    Henry, not likely,

  • yerman

    He may be innocent, he may be guilty, – time will tell.

    However, how on earth he can try to insinuate that this is some kind of political smear campaign is beyond me. Political parties cannot just ring up the cops and ask them to have a snoop through the filing cabinets of their political opponents.

    It seems that the first refuge for the UUP in this attack has been to go straight for the Provo book of excuse making – next they’ll be blaming the securocrats!

    If he has been investigated by the team who are looking into Jim Gray then the timing makes complete sense – its only days after others have been investigated by the same team. Hardly a co-ordinated campaign against him.

    Like I say though – he may be guilty, he may be innocent. The judicial process will prove that.

  • dontyouknow

    This is not the first raid involving Mr Copeland. His business premises were previously raided.

  • franc

    dontyouknow

    Please enlighten us

  • Stephen Warke

    Allow me to put my pennys worth in here if you don’t mind. Being an East Belfast Ulster Unionist I feel I have a right to comment on this, a very serious issue.

    Michael Copeland is a decentman who, as someone who has seen him at work, is a very astute and able politician who does his utmost to help the people of East Belfast.

    When i received news that this event had taken place i was shell shocked as this is not the sort of behaviour I would expect from Michael.

    Allow me to place on the record, that it is my belief that Cllr Michael Copeland MLA is a man of good reputation and that he is completely innocent – i think it is good that he has been open, not only with the police but with the media etc – He has nothing to hide.

    Michael Copeland, in time will be exhonerated completely and i look forward to that day.

    My concern is how much this will have an effect on Michael’s Council Campaign in Castlereagh Central DEA and in Sir Reg Empey’s Westminster Campaign in East Belfast.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a dirty tricks, smear campaign by the DUP, who after all have stolen most of the UUP Policies, now they want to see our good hard working Party members and Elected Representatives locked up.

    SHAME ON YOU DUP, SHAME!!!

  • memory

    Stephen

    On the other hand

    Perhaps he’s just a criminal

    let’s face it,he didn’t have any issues about cavorting with the uda and uvf during disturbances in the east of the city in 2002

  • George T

    He may well be innocent, he may well be guilty. What is most interesting is the amount of time Copeland got to explain himself on BBC NI radio. In January the Shinners were shouted down before they opened their mouths. You dont have to be a SF supporter to spot there is a massive difference in the way the media treats UUP councillors who are investigated for criminality, and SF (about who Orde went out of his way to remind us that he hadnt said anything about regarding the robbery).

  • Davros

    You dont have to be a SF supporter to spot there is a massive difference in the way the media treats UUP councillors who are investigated for criminality, and SF

    How much air time did “Doris Day” get ?

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “Who benefits? (and has influence with the PSNI, a fairly narrow field I would have thought?)”

    Jimmy Spratt? (Just an answer to the question not an allegation, for the record).

  • Paul P

    Stephen Warke

    Please would you enlighten us with the evidence that you have that this is a DUP dirty tricks campaign.Or even go the police/police ombudsman with an official complaint.

  • dontyouknow

    franc

    Two computers were seized from his business premisesa good few months ago. He resigned from Castlereagh Policing Partnership shortly after although he said his resignation was in protest against the decision to get rid of the Police reserve.

  • spongebob

    How much air time did “Doris Day” get ?

    i don’t think Jim Gray was a politician

    Davros

  • franc

    dontyouknow

    Thanks for that

  • Davros

    How much air time did “Doris Day” get ?

    i don’t think Jim Gray was a politician

    Just evening things out spongebob 🙂

  • Delrio

    Gold! Me thinks the UUP campaign is over!

  • Justice

    Have just read the contribution of Junior Warke. Really, it is sad that anyone is so naive. Does he have such a poor view of the PSNI to believe that in the midst of an election they would take the massive step to raid the shared offices of a Parliamentary candidate and Assembly Member; search a party’s offices in a local authority; raid the home of two Council candidates because another political party asked them to? Get a grip lad!
    This decision would have to be taken at the very top level and would have never been taken (certainly at this time) without a very high standard of evidence requiring it.
    The lead the police are following may or may not incriminate Mr Copeland but it will undoubtedly be more than an attempt to smear.
    Anyone with any knowledge of the police would know they would not respond to a politically motivated or anon. call in the mouth of a general election.
    Master Warke’s attempt to spread or shift the damage by attacking the professionalism of the police smacks of IRA tactics and behaviour.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I find it extremely hard to believe that the police would raid the offices of a unionist politician bang in the middle of an election campaign unless they were in possession of some kind of evidence; there’d be held to pay if it came out they were tipped off by people linked to the DUP. As they say no smoke without fire, and while there is no direct evidence as yet this all smells extremely, extremely fishy.

    I wonder exactly why *did* the UDA kick Jim Gray out. Were they aware that the police were about to swoop ?

    Naturally the question now is, should people be willing to share power with the UUP ?

  • Gonzo

    beano

    Mr Spratt is standing in South Belfast. Copeland is a councillor in Castlereagh and East Belfast MLA. While parts of their constituencies overlap, they are not in direct competition in this election, so I would hesitate to make suggestions!

    Anyway, did some googling and found this story from a few months ago. Best quote: “It does strike me that the law is being applied selectively.”

    I won’t say who said it.

  • Tribunal

    How come ex ‘corner boys’from the ’70 have turned into very wealthy leading unionist politicians?
    They hardly did it on a politicians salary!
    Why set up a tribunal to investigate the linkage between certain building firms,unionist politicians and local government planning permission.

  • Tribunal

    Why NOT set up a tribunal.

  • Tribunal

    Why NOT set up a tribunal….

  • Daz Automatic

    I had also heard about a previous raid on Mr Copeland’s business premesis (but not in connection with this allegation).

    Stephen Warke.
    How on earth do you think that the DUP has the entire PSNI in their back-pocket and can just give Hugh Orde a bell and ask him to arrange a quick raid for election time.

    If you believe that it is so easy, then you promptly back up the Sinn Fein/IRA whinging that they were raided for political purposes. Your party was happy with the impartiality of the PSNI then. What has changed now? Stop your pseudo-provo MOPEing!

    Also, if you really think the DUP could arrange that kind of raid, why do you think they would waste it on some sweaty no-mark like Copeland. Surely they’d have had Trimble raided or at least comb-over boy Empey. Why go for a monkey when you could at least have had the organ-grinder’s assistant!

  • Surf

    Perhaps the PSNI got confused and were given orders to raid a Mr Copeland in north Belfast

  • yerman

    We should all be demanding a complete end to UUP criminality before they are eligable for a place in Government.

  • wise up

    Arent the DUP the only party where the leader and deputy leader have criminal records?

  • harry

    The most serious aspect of the raid on Mr Copeland’s offices is that according to newspaper reports today,the allegations are linked to the Jim Grey (uda commander) affair.

    If true,will Mr Copeland’s UUP colleagues refuse to speak to him

    After all no political party should have a private army

  • yerman

    It is an interesting story where one of his party colleagues gets a statement put on the party website later the day Mr Copeland is arrested for alleged money laundering connected to Jim Gray, calling for anyone connected with Mr Gray to be fully investigated and the full weight of the law thrown behind the investigation – what was Mr Burnside trying to say, and did the UUP press office see nothing strange?

    The other most serious aspect is the fact that the accused is trying to blacken another party by suggesting they somehow ‘arranged’ this raid on him. Its the UUP borrowing the provo excuse book which adds a nice touch.

  • Dessertspoon

    Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the danger of holding too many elected offices and the obvious conflict of interests that brings particularly regarding land sales and planning.(sorry this is my pet hate about Norn Iron.)

    It may also be a way of showing all the naïve ones who think that all the wolves are in SF and all the peace loving lambs are in the UUP and DUP that no-one in this province is snow white. Do a little digging into any of who are laughingly referred to as politicians in NI and you’re find some dirt and with others you’ll find a lot.

    Whether or not Copelands activities are suspect and whether or not he had any involvement with Doris the mud has been slung and a lot of it has stuck.

  • sean west

    No criminals in Government.Keep trimble out.