UUP rounds on cross-border funding body

UUP MEP Jim Nicholson has called for the suspension of European funding to the Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN), a initiative of 10 border councils which administers the distribution of millions of EU funding. Nicholson’s ire is the lack of Unionist representation on ICABN’s board. The problem stems from the decision of two nationalist councils, Omagh and Fermanagh, to nominate two nationalist councillors while the other three (two nationalist controlled and one hung) have continued the practice of nominating one unionist and one nationalist.

  • George

    Just when you thought Jim Nicholson getting elected was a figment of your imagination he finally comes out with a press statement.

    The people in the Ballinaglera / Boho Tourism Partnership won’t be happy about this. Their 400k is in danger.

    Good to hear from you Jim. Hope to see you again in 2007.

  • Michael Shilliday

    A press release?
    press releases for May.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    Bang on Jim – good for speaking up against these discriminatory nationalist councils. I’m especially glad to see the UUP getting more in touch with the concerns of unionists “west of the Bann”.

    Perhaps now that our political heavyweights are starting to notice, these councils will have to respect the views of their unionist minority?

    With the SDLP running scared there’s nobody else to speak up against Sinn Féin hegemony. And with these new super-councils this will all get worse.

    This is exactly the kind of issue I want to see both Unionist parties talking more about.

  • m

    Don’t know if it’s an issue worth losing EU funds over. Previously there were 5 Unionists on the board of 20 now there are 3. The real imbalance is for the DUP., all 3 Unionist places are held by the UUP. Unionism may be under-represented but Ulster Unionism is over-represented. Also a 50/50 Unionist/Nationalist split for the northern council’s board members doesn’t reflect the demographic of the 5 councils that signed up to ICBAN. If Jim really wants more Unionists on board he could better spend his time encouraging his party members and local councillors on those ignoring this funding stream to sign up to ICBAN get members on the board and start getting a little cash for the electorate, or he could try and end funding for the entire project.

  • UUP_Hypocrites_again

    It is ridiculous to hear a UUP member insisting that councils make appointments on the basis of equal division between Unionist and Nationalist. The UUP have never practised similar on any councils.

    Do as I say not as I do? Or I’ll seek to deprive everyone of European funding?

  • Rubicon

    Utter hypocrisy – but nothing to get too upset about. Nicholson was no heavy-weight in NI politics. If people here are asking, “Jim who?” what must they be asking in the EU!

    Useful signpost for things to come though. Unionists intent on collapsing devolution may be finding a lot more of this once the super-councils take over.

    I guess there must be some truth in the saying that, “you get back what you put in”.

  • UUP_Hypocrites_again

    Which party had an April position paper with this line:

    ‘especially the iniquitous 50-50 recruitment procedure which we are trying to bring to an end’

    Yes, it was the hypocritical UUP.

    So 50/50 is ok when, UUP? When you say so? It doesn’t work like that anymore.

    The UUP and DUP can easily have more board members if Unionist councils sign up and access this free money. They’d rather refuse to sign up because it’s cross border, then whinge and try and end the funding when Unionism isn’t given a disproportionate level of board places based on the councils that actually did sign up and go after funds for their areas.

  • Paul O

    “Perhaps now that our political heavyweights are starting to notice, these councils will have to respect the views of their unionist minority? ”

    The temptation to descend into whataboutary is almost to much!

  • Rapunsel

    A wee birdy tells me that Mr Nicholson is about to be caught out for passing on a false allegation made by others about other EU funding to a commununity organisation. I hear that one view is that this allegation( which I understand is noit made by Jim himself) is an attempt to smear this organisation with some sort of financial impropriety and that there are concerns that this may be motivated by sectarianism. Looks like the same sort of game going on here and that our Jim is trying to engage in some headline grabbing action a la Jim Allister.

  • m

    Another wee birdie says…he is also in the middle of an interesting situation in the Parliament. The British Conservatives are leaving their group, the EPP, in the summer and there is more interest in getting non-attached Jim Allister than Mr Nicholson. Mr Nicholson relied on Tory support for his profile in the EPP and could be left with no backers in a massive grouping.

    Though I doubt Mr Allister will join due to the Polish Catholic/conservative fundamentalists about to become a major player in the new grouping. Despite them voting identically on almost every issue I feel Mr Allister may have problem with that level of taigery.

    For those interested in this stuff, FF are also screwed as the defections to the new Tory group leave them without a quorum for a European political grouping, they currently control their small European group. According to the Scotsman they are sounding out the ALDE (Liberals) but many seem to think joining the EFA wing of the Green/EFA grouping is the more likely outcome. The Scotsman also says the Tories will pick up an Irish member, I assume Kathy Sinnott, another reason Allister couldn’t join.

  • unionist

    “The UUP and DUP can easily have more board members if Unionist councils sign up and access this free money. They’d rather refuse to sign up because it’s cross border, then whinge and try and end the funding when Unionism isn’t given a disproportionate level of board places based on the councils that actually did sign up and go after funds for their areas.”

    total lack of knowledge there mate all councils cept magherafelt are signed up to interreg partnerships. north east and greater belfast draw down least money due to requirement to have crossborder and the fact that those handing out money are the bodies such as icban. due to cross border nature and make up unionists already make up only 25% of political membership an less of total membership

    some funding bodies have found it hard to promote funds in unionist areas tho icban to date been the best of a bad bunch

  • Rapunsel

    “A press release? ”

    Ok Michael Shilliday

    Let’s see Jim’s response in the press on these two issues — the smear on a reputable community organisation( he’ll be able to give you the details of who it is etc) working on a cross community basis and his plight in the European parliament?

    Somehow I don’t hold out much hope of response on either of these issues. I suppose that next he’ll be looking for a breakdown of the religious persuasion of the staff at ICBAN and other organisations , what else — I heard him moaning on the radio last week about the cost of moving the European parliament between Brussels and Strasbourg? My memory is failing me but was there not some scandal of Jim claiming expenses from EU funds whilst not actually attending the sessions? Stop funding a waste of space such as Jim Nicholson might be a better campaign for him rather than the funding for ICBAN. At least with Jim Allister you know what you are getting , noone wants a cheap copy when the real thing is all too available( unfortunately)

  • West of The Bann

    Ok Jim,
    You actually make a fair point – unionists are underrepresented. It is interesting that those unionists who did get on were UUP members.

    Interesting though that maybe the reason that Jim wants more unionists on ICBAN is the fact that the current UUP representatives on that body have an absolutely dismal attendance record. In fact I think there are some who have never bothered to show up since their nomination.

    Jim needs to get his own house in order. However, the extra seats need to go to where there is currently real under-representation, the DUP.

  • UUP MEP

    Shilliday

    “Press Releases for May”…

    How many of them weren’t authored by P. Munce?

  • ted

    Unionist representation on ICABN might be improved if two of the three UUP Councillors actually went to the meetings.

  • ct

    M,

    Jim Allister would be of minor value to a group that would already have a large number of British members. Where he might be of more value would be in joining Fianna Fail’s group if its Polish members do leave to join the Tories. In that case he could give them an extra nationality potentially saving them from extinction. Ridiculous? As ridiculous as Sinn Fein giving the Communist group the Union Jack perhaps.