DUP: “Copeland tried to bribe justice campaigner’s silence”…

THE DUP has accused East Belfast Ulster Unionist Michael Copeland of attempting to “bribe” the father of a UVF murder victim with “the use of an office if he would keep quiet and not criticise the decision” of the UUP to link up with the PUP in the Assembly. Jeffrey Donaldson also claimed that PUP leader David Ervine was the third person approached by the UUP to join its Assembly group. UPDATE: Slugger has interviewed Mr McCord for his version of events (see below) and hopefully the other side of the argument will be aired as soon as possible. UPDATE: The UUP has denied any kind of offer was made to Mr McCord.Mr McCord met with the UUP at Stormont on Monday, as reported here. He said that Mr Copeland had asked him if he was involved in any victim’s groups, like Willie Frazer of FAIR is.

Mr McCord said Mr Copeland said he was thinking of starting a victim’s group in Belfast, and that McCord would be the man for the office. According to Mr McCord, Mr Copeland appeared to have plans to open an office for victims of Troubles violence, and it was strongly suggested to him that he would be the man for the job.

Mr McCord, who son was killed by the UVF, said he didn’t respond to Mr Copeland’s apparent offer, adding that it Mr Copeland “said it just before Sir Reg Empey and Danny Kennedy came in.”

McCord considered the UUP/PUP arrangement “a big slap in the face to victims”, believing that the UUP arrangement with the UVF’s political wing would make his campaign to bring his son’s killer to justice more difficult.

“I said to Empey months ago that the Ulster Unionists hadn’t done anything for victims. What the UUP don’t realise is that this isn’t about me, it’s about my son.

“The UUP have failed,” said McCord.

“The UUP mustn’t know me if they think they can do that. I have never asked for a penny from the newspapers. They have made fools of themselves.”

Mr McCord said he was told by a UUP source that “we [the UUP] had two other MLAs were going to come in, but they took cold feet at the last minute, so we had to bring Ervine in”.

“I can’t believe they told me that,” McCord said. “For them to more than hint to me was very stupid.”

However, Mr McCord was also critical of the DUP, who made the allegations a few hours ago in the House of Commons.

“The DUP have to remember that Ian Paisley has never condemned my son’s murder. He spoke to the McIlveens, but he never met my family,” said McCord.

He also noted how DUP politicians freely and loudly condemn republican violence on unionists, but when they speak about loyalists killing unionists, the tone is much more measured.

* * *

The Irish News and others reported the UUP’s denial:

UUP denies McCord claim
19/05/2006

By Bimpe Fatogun

THE UUP has denied making an offer to the father of a UVF victim to gain his support for their decision to include a PUP assembly member in their Stormont group.

Raymond McCord jnr was killed by the UVF in 1997. His father, also Raymond McCord, claims the killer was shielded because he was a police informer.

Mr McCord publicly condemned the Ulster Unionists for inviting the PUP’s David Ervine into their assembly group.

He claims a UUP assembly member offered him a position moments before he was due to meet UUP leader Reg Empey to state his objections to Mr Ervine’s alignment with the UUP.

  • Loyalist

    boshank

    Don’t insult my intelligence. This had nothing to do with moving “loyalism” forward, and everything to do with grabbing an extra ministry.

  • smcgiff

    ‘You may think of politics as all a great game but there is quite simply no MORAL justification for this.’

    What’s to be gained from sitting impotently on the high moral ground?

    When SF was brought in from the cold the IRA subsequently, to all intents and purposes, went away. Is it not possible the UUP are trying to do the same here? As, as has been pointed out, the people with the most to gain from the loyalist paramilitaries departing are unionists!

    The loss of the perceived high moral ground is worth the risk if it means the speeding up of the end for loyalist terrorists.

    Ithas been the UUP that have been prepared to take the risks for the betterment of not only their own voters, but ultimately all the people of Northern Ireland – Not the DUP.

    Unfortunately they have paid a political price for their past courage. Without them Northern Ireland would still be in the grip of republican terror, and the reciprocal loyalist terror.

    Good on the UUP for having the courage to seek the greater good, and because of such bravery the even higher moral ground.

  • Loyalist

    jj

    The DUP didn’t exist at the start of the Troubles. And frankly, how did going to meetings, where paramilitaries may or may not have been present result in the destruction of the Newtownards Road. It is really very sad to see that within 4 days of his joining, the UUP posters on here sound more and more like Ervine, with his cliche-ridden, psuedo-socialist crap.

  • boshank

    loyalist…i wouldn’t insult your intelligence…but that’s not the case, it’s a consequence, a tactical move and in keeping with our stated objectives…now the same cannot be said for the party that i guess you support…jj’s points are bang on on that score…

  • boshank

    on the DUP not existing at the start of the troubles, maybe true but paisley was definitely active…then there’s the Robinson clontibtret etc, etc, etc…so really loyalist it’s you that’s insulting our intelligence by trying to present the DUP as some kind of Daz whiter than white party, fraid the stains of the past, paisley’s provocative rants, robbos days with Ulster resistance etc cannot be conveniently washed away now that it suits…

  • Loyalist

    boshank

    I can see I’m banging my head against a brick-wall. I will finish with this, there will be dire consequences for the UUP as a result of this move. What happens the next time the UVF kills somebody? Will Reg come on and Gerry Adams-style, say “this is absolutely terrible, bu we are working to make these things a thing of the past”?

    What has become of the Ulster Unionist Party that they would stoop so low, in order to get an extra ministry? You folks are entitled to your view, but in all honesty I think the UUP are going to suffer as a result.

  • jj

    Loyalist i would go as far to say that people such as Robinson and Paisley both used the people on the Newtownards Road to get where they are to-day. Ian should cast his mind back to when he went to a paramilitary HQ on the Newtownards Road and asked for the people to come out and support him, but then again they want us as loyalist/unionist people to forget about the days when the red barrets where around.

  • Loyalist

    Sorry one last thought came to me. I am a DUP voter, but I wasn’t always, and certainly I always transfer my vote to the UUP in PR elections. I think its really sad that there are some UUP people on here who have more time for and sympathy with the Unionist equivalent of Sinn Fein, than with fellow democrats.

    Y’all take care now!

  • boshank

    loyalist, let’s see about the dire consequences. You and i will probabaly never agree. That’s fine. But seriously don’t even try and flog your washing powder on here about the DUP. We’ve had a pretty good exchange of views but that DUP stuff really takes the biscuit.

  • boshank

    ps. motivation for this thread…

  • Concise

    Have you taken up a new role as spokesperson for DSD Fairdeal? £33m was indeed allocated after the Belfast Education and Library boards funds were cut by £18m and other useful schemes were cut.

    Besides, lets be honest, even if this was new money, 33 million over 2 years to cover all the protestant working class communities in NI isn’t going to change lives now is it? It was an insult. Lets descend from the skies and start being real about this.

  • Lord Belmont

    jj

    its called ‘selective memory’ – a requirement for DUP membership

  • fair_deal

    Concise

    “even if this was new money, 33 million over 2 years to cover all the protestant working class communities in NI isn’t going to change lives now is it?”

    BELB made cuts of £6.6m not £18m.

    The £33m isn’t the total figure its the new money figure. There are tens of millions more under the likes of the Children’s fund, Neighbourhood renewal as well.

    I never claimed it was a cure-all, that it was a perfect package nor would anyone involved in socio-economic need ever expect a two-year package to turn something round completely.

    It will contribute to changing some people’s lives and it will certainly do more than no package at all.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LB: “its called ‘selective memory’ – a requirement for DUP membership”

    Actually, its a requirement for any serious participation in politics… keeps you from having to deal with the odd moments in politics when things get silly…

    … like inviting the spokes-muppet of one of the Unionist terrorist organizations into your political bloc after many a stem-winder about the unsuitability of terrorists in government.

  • whatever

    The two MLA’s approached before Ervine were Seamus Close 100% and I am 99% sure mark robinson (dup) as he is currently astranged from his duper former friends, they would not have touched Berry (so to speak)

  • unionist

    The fact that the UUP have taken Ervine into their group doesn not constitute itself as support for the UVF..-that’s DUP spin.

    It’s a mere tactical move, to disallow IRA/Sinn Fein a seat in the executive that they do not deserve. The UUP clearly did not think this move would have provoked the outrage is has, however. It is now upon them to bring about UVF decommisioning and an end to their thuggery.

    As for the DUP, well they are a digrace. “selective memory” is right. They bear a heavy responsibility over loyalist paramilitaries. Ian Paisleys incessant ranting is a lot to blame for hundred’s joining the ranks of the UVF/UDA. He then washes his hands of the problem and takes no reponisibility.

    The DUP is a hypocritical party full of absolute bastards.

    You ask what has Robinson done for the East in the past 27 years?! – Nothing. This is because the DUP are an election machine and nothing more. They are good at TV, radio and making leaflets to hand out. They also enjoy their favourite pastime – slagging the UUP off.

    Interesting to see that even though Robinson does only a tiny fraction of work in the East that the UUP do – his pityful excuse for a constituency office still managed to rake up a hefty bill! A good deal larger than the UUP’s I may add.

    Get a grip DUP..Face up to your responsibilities over loyalist paramilitaries.

  • Tony Clifton

    What was missed from the original post about Donaldson’s claim was Nigel Dodds statement in the same debate. In relation to Empey he said

    “In fact, if he had waited, he would not have needed to do that at all. He has got all the pain and no gain.”

    So it is ocnfirmed, the reason the DUP are so upset is that they were beaten to the punch, they wanted to be the ones to deny sinn fein a ministerial seat.

    I think it is worth pointing out…..again that this seat has changed hands a few times already, as far as the electorate was concerned, they gave it to the UUP in voting for UUP candidates, however the DUP took the seat through the questionable election tactics of donaldson and friends, the dup then handed the seat to SF because they didnt like the idea of a ‘sports massage’ being carried out on a party member. Only for the PUP to come in and take the seat back off Sinn Fein.

    The DUP are just pissed because they were beaten to the punch and now cant do anything about it as an extra member or two back to them has no effect.

  • Tony Clifton

    Unionist

    You are very right about the DUP hyprocrites. I have a feeling they will loose this argument, its probably for the best even for them as their current line could open a whole can of worms for them in relation to hypocracy and their relationship with Loyalism.

    1 Ulster Resistance
    2 Tara
    3 Third Force
    4 DUP voting for Deouty Lord Mayor and Lord Mayor
    5 DUP on UUUC with PUP and Glenn Barr
    6 Both Paisley and Robinson have been in jail (temporarily)
    7 Paisley burying the first UVF casualty of conflict
    8 Paisley taking a UDA salute
    9 Paisley thanking UVF members for their attendance at a rally
    10 McCrea and Billy Wright sharing a platform….actually just McCrea period.

    These are only things I can think of off the top of my head and that are already in the public domain with photographic/written back up. Imagine all the stuff that isnt common knowledge. I dont think the DUP want to start this line of argument.

  • tony clifton

    sorry for the triple post, it wont happen again but number 4 is in relation to the PUP’s Hugh Smyth

  • enlightened

    Whatever,

    He is currently estranged from his duper former friends.

    I don’t know who you have been talking to, but they have been giving you a pile of crap. I gather having spoken to him fairly recently that Mark Roninson does not have any difficulty with, nor indeed is estranged from DUP colleagues,

  • Broo-ha-ha

    unionist

    “It’s a mere tactical move, to disallow IRA/Sinn Fein a seat in the executive that they do not deserve.”

    Then why all the nonsense about bringing the UV’s in from the cold?

  • malo

    It seems to be that some DUP members seem to forget about things that they have been involved in and if they keep going down this line of trying to discredit other councilors and mla’s its just a matter of time before things come back to haunt them. Paisley/Robinson need to remember who they held meetings with in the early days and where these people are now. I would think that if they started to come out and talk about such meetings thinks wouldnt be very unpleasant for the DUP.

  • unionist

    Bringing the UVF in from the cold is a secondary effect of the tactical move. The UUP do want to bring about loyalist decommissioning. They do want to end loyalist thuggery.

    However the primary motivation behind this move was the ministerial seat. The fact it may give them leverage to bring about an end to the UVF is an added bonus.

  • unionist

    One last thing….a there is an interesting photo on the internet, showing Peter Robinson in a red beret standing on a hillside, attending a “show of strength”.

    The man cuddling up beside him happens to be a man who was arrested abroad for trying to import missiles to N.Ireland. What do you think he was going to do with these missiles? Shoot down British Helicopters???

    DUP – Disgraceful hypocrits. Look at your past

  • Lord Belmont

    The issue regarding Mark Robinson is that he is, in fact, out in the cold, in therms of the DUP. He and his namesake Peter have not seen eye to eye, since he was de-selected, thus not able to defend his seat on Castlereagh Borough Council, so there is bad feeling there.

  • Oh dear, I seem to have stumbled upon a wonderful handbag fight. It doesn’t change the issue: namely that the UUP will be severely tarnished in the future, if the UVF so much as raises a teeny finger to do something bad.

    I also suspect that many of the pro-UUP posters here are the famous Cunningham House Muppets who so made us all laugh in Kerr’s book. Folks, your postings are childish and stupid. You can wage handbag wars all you like, cosy up to the UVF on the pretext of solving community problems, etc., etc. But Reg has inched you all further toward the waste disposal chute.

  • inuit goddess

    watchman you take comfort in your condescending language – “handbag”, “childish”, “stupid” – yet i note you don’t respond to *any* of the issues raised on this thread:

    i) are the dups not being just a teency-weency bit hypocritical, given their 30 years of muddy association with extreme loyalist groups?? or does your hatred for Reg and his party blind you to such inconvenient facts of history?

    ii) i nearly fell over on monday watchin’ paisley claim he was “waving the flag of democracy” – i mean this is the guy who helped found Ulster Resistance and pledged to use “Any Means Necessary” to fulfil his goals!!

    iii) dear dear me, I just can’t figure out what the motivation might be for the dups to be slandering the good name of Michael Copeland – or mebbe they just know an incredibly effective, hard-working representative of working class unionism when they see one!

    i cant’ stand the paramilitaries on either side but when it comes to loyalism i mean we unionists either sit there and do nothing and relax on our molehills of moral certitude or we take the difficult route and get stuck in and engage and try to transform those communities for the better

    at least Reg has the guts to get stuck in – and stick to his line all week in the face of all this ferocious hypocritical-criticism from the DUP.

    the man is stronger than many give him credit for. and who could argue that our communities don’t need that kind of brave leadership right now?

  • inuit goddess

    correction: for “slandering” i mean “libelling” – as and when wee jeffrey has the guts to repeat his accusations outside Parliament.

  • dub

    this is a totally unrelated subject but as i dont know how to put up a blog i thought that people might like to know that Michael O’Riordain, veteran of the spanish civil war and ex general secretary of the communist party of ireland has died today. May he rest in peace.

  • Line Backer

    the DUP are shit bags who only look out for them selves if there was no money involved with the party do you think they would still be doing it where do you think they get the money for there pretty suits to look like a bunck of 1980 rejects at least the UUP are bringing the unionist people together whats the DUP doing dut spreading them for more money as DR Ian P would say : I COMDEN THOSE ACTIONS BY THOSE PEOPLE: he should be condemed for being still alive HA HA HA HA HA

  • bertie

    …..and with those warm words Line Backer woos the DUP support base and furthers the aims of ” bringing the unionist people together.

  • Tiny

    On the subject of Robinson and money, can it really cost the Robinsons 40k per year to keep a flat for overnight stays in London 200k per full term.

  • Intelligence Insider

    When Peter Robinson had his RUC bodyguards temporarily removed as a result of his Clontibret “invasion”, he requested the UVF to protect his house.

    A DUP Councillor in North Down was jailed for extortion on behalf of the UVF.

    When the UVF Military Commander was in hospital for an operation a DUP Councillor with a legally held personal protection weapon acted as his bodyguard.

    Senior members of the DUP advised the UVF Brigade Command NOT to call a ceasefire.

    So why all this hypocrisy from DUPes about the UUP?

  • inuit goddess,

    The DUP can defend themselves against your allegations. As I am not a member I do not have to.

    I think a more interesting question is why you lot think the UVF are part of the solution and not part of the problem in loyalist estates. And to please tell us how you will persuade those engaged in criminality to desist when it means they lose their income and status.

    I’m quite content to take moral positions on this subject. Your amorality is your own problem.

  • CutThemLoose

    Intelligence Insider—I would urge some caution on this matter for UUP supporters like yourself as I suspect that information about some leading lights of the UUP and loyalist paramilitaries may be winging its way to the media.

    On same subject. UUP Assembly team = 1 convicted terrorist. DUP Assembly team = 0

    The PUP shafted you last weekend when they leaked the Ervine story. Why, do you think, they did that?

    CutThemLoose

  • Tony Clifton

    CutThemLoose

    I have no doubt that there are stories about UUP people winging their way to sunday tabloid offices, I also dont doubt that some of them are true, however I assure you that the DUP should not want to get into a mud slinging excercise like that, as although the UUP may have a few skeletons as far as Loyalism is concerned there is enough info around on DUP Cllrs and MLAs and indeed MPs to sink a fair few of them. Your points tally of 0v1 is a strange game to play as if we included councillors etc and those with very close assosiations then the dup figure jumps (and the DUP being moral guardians – it wouldnt matter if they were MLA’s or only councillors….wrong is wrong eh?

    Also for a point interest I am 100% sure that it was not the PUP who leaked the story, I would imagine it was the UUP themselves.

  • darth rumsfeld

    as one of the many of the “decent people” who pre-1998 voted UUP by habit, I can’t imagine they will be impressed by this strategem, because even if there was an arrangement in Belfast City hall, most Unionists-including most party members BTW would have been unaware, and would not have approved.

    And the UUP attack on the DUP to the effect that “Sure you’re just as bad” won’t impress those voters who liked to feel that by voting UUP they were better than those awful Paisleyites. I talked to a senior UUP figure in the country who told me this could cost up to 30% of their vote there.

    As for Tank Commander’s risible performance on H&M last night -“We have discovered a secret deal deal between DUP and SF, but…er, we don’t know what it is”- I wonder how he’s getting on with his MP, and former backer for leader now?

    And if this is such a great strategic triumph, how come Reg had to call a secret emergency meeting of officers and constituency reps last night in the face of internal crisis

  • Loyalist

    Darth

    Interesting that there is no reponse from our UUP blaggards. Why did Reggie have to call an emergency meeting if everything was A-OK?