Two steps forward, one step back?

The speculative timetable for the disbandment/stand-down of the UVF seems to have slipped back. Earlier on the year a major announcement was muted for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Somme but this has now been abandoned. Although, the PUP have expressed their disappointment with the proposed government package it is not highlighted as a reason for delay but the attempt to appease nationalist concerns about a shadow Assembly with promises of Joint Authority as Plan B has raised loyalist hackles.
The scepticism of how genuine the present process is among loyalist paramilitaries is not restricted to nationalism with the DUP deciding to maintain a distance but the present consultations and debates are the most in-depth and persistent loyalists paramilitaries have undertaken so far.

  • Pete Baker

    Whose speculative timetable would that be, fd?

    Jonathan Powell’s?

  • pol

    Loyalist drug deals once said they were there as long as the threat from the IRA continued. Now that the IRA have said that there war is over, It looks like any excuse to hang onto weapons and territory will do.
    But then again they don’t seem to be under any pressure from unionist politicians, clergy or British government to do anything.
    This all stands in stark contrast to the way republicans were treated. And doesn’t do a lot for the mindset of the catholic people when they see double standards prevail once more, as loyalist’s close ranks.
    Shades of the past. This definitely does not bode well for the future. Now that we have the Protestant mindset stuck on No

  • fair_deal

    Pol

    “there war is over”

    To be accurate the IRA didn’t say that, they said “an end to the armed campaign.” The same terminology aas the end of the ill-fated border campaign of 56-62.

    “The leadership of the Resistance Movement has ordered the termination of the Campaign of Resistance to British occupation launched on December 12, 1956.”

    “under any pressure from unionist politicians, clergy or British government to do anything.”

    The ARA is applying pressure with twice as many cases against loyalists as repunlicans

    Answer to Q185
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmniaf/uc886-iii/uc88602.htm

    “Now that we have the Protestant mindset stuck on No”

    The people saying No right now are the SDLP and SF to the proposed government proposals.

  • “Now that we have the Protestant mindset stuck on No”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought the UDA and, more rabidly, the UVF were “Yes” voting, pro-Agreement terrorists.

  • Corcaigh

    Meanwhile, the chair of the PUP runs the police – that’s some system ye have up there.

  • Dec

    The ARA is applying pressure with twice as many cases against loyalists as republicans

    Proving what? – well that there are a hell of a lot more loyalists involved in drugs, extortion etc than republicans. The pattern was the same throughout the conflict and after with hundreds of loyalists being convicted of extortion (some more than once). The notion that greater targetting of loyalists for this sort of offence is some sort of sop to republicanism or a get-tough measure on loyalism is a nonsense.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fair Deal :

    The ARA is applying pressure with twice as many cases against loyalists as repunlicans

    Why are we splitting hairs ? Criminals are criminals – unless you think their crimes are political ?

    In any case the statistic is meaningless without data concerning the relative proportion of crime. The AIA’s approach may well be governed by the possibility that loyalists commit twice as much crime as republicans perhaps ? I certainly remember RUC statistics from ten years ago saying that loyalists controlled around 75% of the drug trade here.

  • pitt park

    Does anyone really believe that uvf commanders, in East Belfast for example, are going to give up their control of the drug trade.

    They went to so much trouble to take over the drug scene in the Garnerville estate, they are not going to give up.

    The organisation are believed to be responsible for the huge increase of cocaine and heroin within the greater Belfast area.

    Even if the uvf get their hands on some of the government’s 30 million, they will still control the drugs trade in many areas.

  • pol

    fair_deal

    …….“there war is over”
    To be accurate the IRA didn’t say that…..

    Well you would accuse Sinn féin and the IRA to be the one organisation. So now you split hairs.

    ….. The ARA is applying pressure with twice as many cases against loyalists as repunlicans….

    I think (Dec) answered that one.

    ….The people saying No right now are the SDLP and SF to the proposed government proposals…

    Try again.
    There is an agreement. Remember the people voted for it.

    pakman

    …Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought the UDA and, more rabidly, the UVF were “Yes” voting, pro-Agreement terrorists…..

    Correct me if i am wrong. Part of that agreement was Rejecting violence. They haven’t so what’s your point.

  • go get them ARA

    A typical UVF mural with its logo For God and Ulster
    The Ulster Volunteer Force was formed in 1966 to combat what it saw as a rise in Irish nationalism centred on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. It adopted the name and symbols of the original UVF, the movement founded in 1912 by Sir Edward Carson to fight against Home Rule. Many UVF men joined the 36th Ulster Division of the British Army and died in large numbers during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Fifty years later the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Captain O’Neill, would rush back from a commemorative service at the Somme to ban the UVF. It had been formed a few months earlier with the express intention of executing “mercilessly and without hesitation” known IRA men. Their first three victims, a Protestant woman and two Catholic men, had no connections with the IRA. It was the murder of Peter Ward, the third victim, which brought the UVF and its leader Gusty Spence to public attention. Spence was convicted of Ward’s murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    The new UVF opposed the liberal reforms being introduced by PM O’Neill. In March and April 1969 they bombed water and electricity installations as part of a broader political campaign to force O’Neill to resign. The bombings were blamed on the IRA. O’Neill resigned at the end of April.

    Mural in honour of 1st Battalion UVF West Belfast
    According to the book Lost Lives between 1966 and 1999 the UVF and an affiliate group, the Red Hand Commando, killed 547 people. Many were killed in high profile attacks. In December 1971 they planted a bomb at McGurk’s bar in Belfast killing 15. By the mid-70s a vicious UVF unit known as the Shankill Butchers was engaged in horrific sectarian killings. In May 1974 they planted bombs in Dublin and Monaghan killing 33 people and in 1975 they shot dead three members of the Miami Show Band.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    “Proving what?”

    Proving that pol’s claim no pressure was being applied to loyalists by government was false.

    “well that there are a hell of a lot more loyalists involved in drugs, extortion etc than republicans”

    From the last Organised Crime Task Force Threat Assessment

    The Provisional IRA (PIRA) has long been
    involved in a range of criminal enterprises,
    including organised crime. Their criminal
    activities include large-scale robberies and
    hijacking, which have provided substantial
    funding for the organisation. They are also
    involved in smuggling contraband goods
    (most commonly alcohol, tobacco and fuel),
    intellectual property crime, extortion and
    money laundering.

    CS

    “Criminals are criminals – unless you think their crimes are political ?

    Yes to first part No to the second

    “RUC statistics from ten years ago saying that loyalists controlled around 75% of the drug trade here.”

    Wouldn’t surprise if your memory is true and that situations continues to be but the ARA’s role is to tackle all criminal profits not just drugs.

    Pol

    “Well you would accuse Sinn féin and the IRA to be the one organisation. So now you split hairs.”

    I made no mention of Sinn fein in my post I was specific about what the IRA said.

    “Try again.
    There is an agreement. Remember the people voted for it.”

    There have been elections since then and politics has moved on. Plus the parties tried to implement the agreement and it didn’t work. Nationalists may wish to hark back but political dealmaking is based on the reality of the day not 7/8 years ago.

  • Pol

    Fair deal

    …I made no mention of Sinn fein in my post I was specific about what the IRA said….

    Sinn Féin made the statement(the war is over). My point is you would accuse Sinn féin and the IRA to be the one organisation. So now you split hairs.

    ……There have been elections since then and politics has moved on….

    There was a poll on this and the majority of the people on this island voted in favour of the good Friday agreement. I haven’t heard of any poll since. north or south that has changed that reality.

  • fair_deal

    Pol

    “you would accuse Sinn féin and the IRA to be the one organisation.”

    Where in my post did I say that?

  • Yokel

    The UDA are going to be decimated in time whether they buy into the process or not. There is a strategy at the highest levels to eliminate them at both political terrorist and criminal level.

    The people on the loyalist side that need watching are the UVF who would represent more of a threat to return to an organised campaign of violence should they do so. On the other hand, they look to be locked in now that it would take some going for them to restart such an open politically motivated violence campaign. Joint Authority, in its proper form, would be one such measure. The approach of ‘if you don’t do as you are told, we’ll do it for you’ stick waved at unionists has a large element of hot air, largely because it goes against the GFA which states there is going to be no constitutional change without the consent of the majority. That would reprsent such a change and to move to a proper joint authority would mean both governements killing the GFA as a failure and they won’t do it. It would also go against the will of the majority in Northern Ireland if put to the ballot and I don’t think there is much dispute over that. Are the governments going to push an anti-ballot box measure? No, its just way to obvious and way too severe in this case.

    Anyway, unionists, consider this, do you think the Irish government would back the local government reform at council level? I suspect not…time will prove it to be Hain thinking he can go in and flash around ewith an ill informed sectarian crave up that just doesn’t work and never has. I suspect some of the DUP intransigence is also about seeing him off. Anyway, Paisley has reached his peak and its downhill from here on in. I dont think the Joint Authority concept would have raised its head if he wasnt the main player on the Unionist side.

  • lib2016

    It won’t be ‘joint authority’ because no government in its right mind is going to accept responsibility for an area where it cannot exercise its authority.

    What is changing is that an ever expanding area can no longer be treated as ‘occupied territory’. That’s why demilitarisation is happening and why some kind of devolution has to arranged, whether through a power-sharing Stormont or through the new local council areas. One way or another the voice of the people in South Armagh, Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh and in areas like West Belfast has to be seen to be heard.

    We’re getting to the point where the fact that Norn Ireland simply doesn’t work can no longer be ignored.

  • Yokel

    Frankly lib, many of those areas that you have mentioned should be allowed to transfer to the Irish Republic if the local populous are willing and the Irish Government is willing. There is a very small unionist population in the urban Newry town, areas of South Armagh are over 95% nationalist and its the same on the west bank of the Foyle & Strabane town. Yes there will be areas difficult to demarcate but actually not overally so. It would represent a comparatively clean break. Those of a unionist persuasion should be told to either stay or be given help to relocate, they are such a small number that its just not sustainable.

    West Belfast is of course another matter and anyway I doubt very much the Irish government would touch the area with a barge pole.

    Democracy in the North is as efficient and fair than it ever has been, there is in effect no extensive discrimination on the kind of levels that existed pre-1968, therefore it should be accepted by everyone as basically legitimate.

  • Yokel

    Go Get them ARA..whats yer point?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Wouldn’t surprise if your memory is true and that situations continues to be but the ARA’s role is to tackle all criminal profits not just drugs.

    Indeed so, and Slab Murphy may have a thing or two to say about that.

    I’m not at all in favour of arrest/confiscation quotas for paramilitaries from any particular side which seems to be what unionists are arguing for. The noises coming from the unionist camp complaining that the police are concentrating too much on loyalist criminality is disturbingly inconsistent with their own expressed views on parity of esteem elsewhere.

    On a slightly different tack, it is quite reasonable for the security forces to assess that loyalist paramilitaries are a greater threat, and it is therefore quite right for them to allocate the greater proportion of their resources to shutting them down. The ARA is doing an excellent job of shutting down all kinds of criminals and it deserves full support, not partisan sniping.

    Unionism is supposed to be all about law and order. It’s a disgrace to see unionist politicians siding with the paramilitaries against the police and authorities which seems to be occurring more and more often.

  • Mark

    Yokel – the politics of 1919 are not the solution. What happens when demographics change? Will we have to redraw the border every couple of decades to take account?
    The most sensible strategy for the governments would be to (gradually) change their rhetoric so that we can move forward from the GFA without having to regard it as a failure – more the latest step, parts of which, such as policing reform and the human rights protections, will be recognised in years to come as a success, other aspects such as the Assembly as less than successful but at least they tried something original?

  • Yokel

    Mark

    It isn’t about just boundary drawing, its taking overwhelmingly nationalist communities in the border region and saying ‘do you want to go’. It is their choice and if they say yes or no then there be no moaning….

    The GFA took internal Northen politics and cemented a sectarian carve up..anyway don’t you think the Britih government isnt looking at an element fo repartition as an option? You be they are. With the concepts they are looking at the problem of a large nationalist minority in the North would be on ice for a lot more than a few decades, try 100 – 200 years.

  • lib2016

    yokel,

    Partition didn’t work. Without the threat of violence, a sympathetic Anglo-Irish officer caste in the British Army, and an electoral benefit for the Conservative Party it would never have happened. None of those things apply in the current situation.

    Instead we have a few malcontent politicans competing for the backing of drugdealing gangs who openly despise them. Games over!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Pakman,
    The majority of the UDA membership are Anti-Belfast/GF Agreement, and have been for quite a while now. The PUP have naively continued to support the Appeasement Process but even some of their members I am in contact with, including on forums such as Love Ulster.com, say they are “loyal to their party but disagree with the “Agreement”…

    Comrade Stalin,
    “Criminals are criminals”;
    Great analysis, but Loyalists are not criminals, but counter-terrorists or political activists. Within the UDA, and the UVF and Red Hand Commando in particular, there are, without a doubt, individuals and teams whose only loyalty is to money. These men are not Loyalists. As Jackie McDonald has said before:
    “a Loyalist cannot be a drug-dealer, and a drug-dealer wouldn’t be allowed to be a Loyalist”.

    Having cleared that up it’s important to make this point. It’s a bit rich republicans coming on here and tarring Loyalism with the brush of criminality – did they not read the Sunday papers with Slab Murphy’s mugshot on the front covers? The man is the biggest fuel-smuggler, racketeer and all-round criminal this island has ever seen!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Concerned Loyalist: “Great analysis, but Loyalists are not criminals, but counter-terrorists or political activists. Within the UDA, and the UVF and Red Hand Commando in particular, there are, without a doubt, individuals and teams whose only loyalty is to money. These men are not Loyalists. As Jackie McDonald has said before:
    “a Loyalist cannot be a drug-dealer, and a drug-dealer wouldn’t be allowed to be a Loyalist”. ”

    It probably looks swell on a business card or a mural, but that’s marketing. We’re discussing reality.

    CL: “It’s a bit rich republicans coming on here and tarring Loyalism with the brush of criminality – did they not read the Sunday papers with Slab Murphy’s mugshot on the front covers? The man is the biggest fuel-smuggler, racketeer and all-round criminal this island has ever seen! ”

    Denial… its not just a river in Egypt. The fact of the matter is that both sides, Republican and Loyalist, entered into enterprises that, in a more normal country, would be matters of organized crime. This, as the “war” winds down, creates a problem, in that the activities to maintain the organized crime side of the business (beatings, shootings and the odd bomb) can look like the “making war” side of the operations.

    Simplest approach is that, in the absence of an armed campaign, them’s what are dealing drugs, pimping, running numbers, practicing extortion, et al and ad nauseum, should be treated as criminals. Now, there will be those whose “dual-membership” or past alliances with more politically minded thuggery will give some cause to cheer, taunt or feel (justifiably) awkward. A couple months ago, its was a UDA fellow, now its Slab, next month it may be some hood from the UVF. The fact of the matter is that the political side of the business could be closed tomorrow and the criminals would not go home and take up an honest trade on either side of the divide.

    What I find amusing is the double-standard from your post, CL — the naive notion that its just a few “bad apples” and that Loyalism doesn’t have a criminal problem. Especially amusing is the “lookit Slab” nonsense. These arrests, both Loyalist and Republican, are to be expected as the ancilliary issues of N.I.’s peculiar political and sectarian conflicts are wound down.

    Who knows, maybe someday we can have ODC’s in charge of the rackets.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    1)”someday we can have ODC’s in charge of the rackets”:
    I have always found the term ODC’s particularly odd D-C! How is it that a non-aligned criminal is an “ordinary decent” fellow, but a paramilitary is a “terrorist” or a “murder gang” member? in most cases paramilitants are politically motivated, or motivated by a sense of duty to their community…the only motivation an ODC has is the smell of £££…

    2)”What I find amusing is the double-standard of your post”:

    I know that there are IRA members who are committed to the cause of “liberating the six counties from British imnperialism and occupation”, and are ashamed of men like Slab, but there “war” is a xenophobic and sectarian one, whatever spin they put on it. Loyalists, or are counter-terrorists defending thir communities from these men. You have to remember, the IRA were formed long before the UDA and UFF came along in 1971 and 73 respectively…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Few typos in the above second paragraph:
    There is no “n” in “imperialism”, in the third line “there” should read “their” and at the end of the line the “or” shouldn’t be there…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    1)”someday we can have ODC’s in charge of the rackets”:

    I have always found the term ODC’s particularly odd D-C! How is it that a non-aligned criminal is an “ordinary decent” fellow, but a paramilitary is a “terrorist” or a “murder gang” member? in most cases paramilitants are politically motivated, or motivated by a sense of duty to their community…the only motivation an ODC has is the smell of £££…

    Its a matter of progress, not perfection, CL. It would accomplish two goals. First, it would deny the sectarian and political thugs of income. Second, once accomplished, we could then arrest said criminals without so many column inches devoted to the political ramifications and navel gazing associated with said arrest. Thirdly, a great many of the drug businesses involve volatile chemicals. Do you really want the local (insert three letters here) crowd with guns, crack and a whole lot the makings of a methamphetamine cookery, along with the Semtex and odd heavy weapon? Lastly, and this one is kind of important, we can lose the distinction between “your” criminal / terrorists / freedom-fighters and “my” criminals / terrorists / freedom-fighters and treat the criminals like criminals.

    As for the second, the IRA, definitionally, is not sectarian — I don’t expect a collection of Marxists to get all excitied about God and the fall-out of the Reformation. The catch is that the Unionists *ARE* sectarian — they make great hooplah over which Church a body goes to. Thusly, through the sectarian lens of Unionism, anyone who opposes their goals are equally “sectarian.” The IRA’s goal has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with politics.

    I’ll say it again — words mean things, CL.

    CL: “Loyalists, or are counter-terrorists defending thir communities from these men. ”

    Stuff and nonsense. They are a bunch of free-lancing yahoos with no remit for the violence they commit or the crimes performed in furthering their “goals.” Having dealt with real counter-terrorist units, I would point out they have a focus on getting the people responsible, as opposed to slipping the line between communities and killing a few “taigs”
    for “the Cause.”

    CL: “You have to remember, the IRA were formed long before the UDA and UFF came along in 1971 and 73 respectively… ”

    As opposed to, say, the UVF…

    Now, as for the other post — I’m not the one to make too much about typos — I’ve made a few myself, over the years… *grin*

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Marxists may not be sectarian, but are guilty of:
    hypocrisy, naivety and oppression through the form of Communism. I know you’ll probably come back with the retort that “Communism isn’t ‘proper’ Marxism”, but it is based on the Marxist model…anyway, I was led to believe the Officials were the Marxists and the Provos seen themselves as Republicans.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    CL: “Marxists may not be sectarian, but are guilty of:
    hypocrisy, naivety and oppression through the form of Communism. I know you’ll probably come back with the retort that “Communism isn’t ‘proper’ Marxism”, but it is based on the Marxist model…”

    In no particular order “communism” has existed as a socio-political theory since Plato’s wildly mis-titled “Republic,” so, no I would have to argue that Communism is not “based on the Marxist model…” Similarly, Marx theorized more of an “evolutionary” model, as opposed to the Leninist or Maoist “revolutionary” model, what with “power comes from the barrel of a gun” motif.

    As for who the “proper” Marxists are, you may be correct… that said, they sprung from the same well initially and share more than a little. That said, Gerry and Martin (as opposed to “Martin and Lewis,” another famous comedy team with some of the same names…) aren’t out there espousing the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church and screaming for a new Inquisition, either. Meanwhile, the Unionists get to listen to the Rt. Rev. Ian Paisley regurgitate a body of religious politic that could have been written over 350 years ago with no one knowing the better, save for the need to update for current events.

    Now, as for oppression, did not the Protestant minority of Ireland oppress through the co-mingling of religion and politics, thus making them “sectarian”?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Oh, and one last reason why ODC are better than political street-fighters for running the local “rackets.” An ODC doesn’t want to be noticed. The political animal, what with his statement and the like NEEDS to be noticed. This difference in incentive creates differences in modus operandi and, thusly, different outcomes. The ODC, noting needing or even wanting the spotlight, ceteris paribus, tends to run a quieter shop and is not as wed to the use of violence in their goals.