Loyalists and Republicans unite to launch Finaghy Project

President Mary McAleese and UDA leader Jackie McDonald will be in attendance for the launch of a cross-community project in south Belfast. The Finaghy Crossroads Group is jointly chaired by former UDP representative, Harry Smith, and Sinn Fein representative for the area, Stiofan Long. The group aims to reduce sectarian tensions in the Finaghy area and promote it as a safe, mixed environment.

  • Nevin

    [i]“It’s an inclusive process all along. We have former combatants involved because they can be role models within their community.”[/i]

    Who wants the likes of Adair and Adams to be role models for young people? Who wants paramilitaries anywhere near young people? Errant clerics were bad enough …

  • Surely to God there’s one last stray piece of Skylab up there, just waiting for the moment?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Why is there a problem with this?

    Surely anything that does not include violence and hatred of others is positive. Especially for the young that the intolerance they see has alternatives.

    Steps in any positive direction should not be begrudged, and for the life of me I don’t see a bad side.

  • bertie

    This pseudo demonstration of responsibility by these thugs gives me the shivers. McAlese supprting her pet terrorists, how sweet!

  • loftholdingswood

    Excellent initiative which will reap dividends both in the short term and the long term. I hope this type of scheme can be rolled out to other areas as well.

  • Alan

    Well done, Harry.

  • Nevin

    Bertie, the nervousness expressed by some Dublin civil servants about McAleese’s ‘flirtation’ with loyalist and republican paramilitaries is perfectly understandable.

    Those who deal with justice issues can see for themselves how the paramilitaries are angling for a place in the official justice systems of the UK and Ireland.

    The Maranatha Memorandum(2001) and the associated witness evidence gives us some insights into the nature of the paramilitary beast; the wolves may dress in sheep’s clothing but they’re still wolves.

    Organised Crime in Northern Ireland is significantly influenced by paramilitary organisations.


    balmoral golf club will probably be renamed mcDeelse golf club,……well done Harry, harry jumped ship, used to be dup, then jumped to udp, then it was disbanded and he was left on his ownup… ..as for jackie mcd and his closeness with the irish president if he can squeeze money from anywhere and its used on the finaghy community well done, but heres hoping the taughmonagh club bar doesn’t get it…

  • Rory


    What I wonder is to be gained if we condemn paramilitaries for violence and conflict and demand that they desist and then if they heed that call and do desist and turn instead to initiatives designed to foster peace and co-operation within their communities we then continue to condemn them for that activity?

    It seems to me to smack of the wrath of some old testament god where one is “damned if we do and damned if we don’t”. Would you smack a naughty child for bad behaviour and then continue to smack that child for behaving well just to remind him that once he was naughty?

    With such an outlook the quality of mercy is not strained it’s damned near triple-filtered.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Is this unionist snobbery toward those dirty Loyalists, now that they can’t be used with impunity for the dirty work. I re-iterate what is wrong with this project?, more are needed and snidey comments about individuals are not addressing the story.

  • Nevin

    Rory, I don’t bludgeon children with a baseball bat; paramilitaries do.

    What hope is there for the future if children adopt paramilitary godfathers as role models?

    Why should we be impressed by some paramilitary mutual appreciation society when we can view the reports of those who’ve been or who continue to be their victims or those who’ve come to the aid of their victims?

    What was the point of the efforts of those who struggled for democracy down through the generations if we roll over in the face of paramilitary fascism and mafiaism?

  • Carson’s Cat

    “I don’t bludgeon children with a baseball bat; paramilitaries do.”

    Now, now – of course they’ll be using Golf clubs now – do you honestly think they’d allow a baseball bat into the K Club??

    As for this initiative, well lets wait and see if it works.

  • Loyalist

    As a society we have reached the perverse situation were Jackie McDonald is interviewed on television with the monickor “UDA Leader” under his name as though this were some legitimate public office that he holds. If McAleese wants to love it up with a convicted extortioner and Stiofan Long that is her right and privelege to do so, but I wil never, ever recognise the UDA as anything other than a monkey on the back of working-class Unionist communities.

  • Nevin
    “What hope is there for the future if children adopt paramilitary godfathers as role models?”

    I agree. Much better perhaps if victims from both communities were the role models rather than the criminals.

  • godsdog

    I know the people involved in this project and I know the project,I wish it well as it has already been very sucessful already in sorting out the crossroads. It is not just former prisoners but ordinary residents who want to live in peace that are involved and driving this, but it shouldnt matter anyway. Only those with narrow political agendas will want to see this fail!!!
    Long and Smith are to be commended imho

  • bertie

    Yeah of course, opposition to terrorist groups is because I think they’re of an inferior social strata. It can’t possibly be anything to do with a wee matter like murdering people

  • lib2016

    Since the referendum Unionists have had years to set up institutions and get on with building a new society in partnership with nationalists. They didn’t do what the people had so clearly demanded and they have no right now to complain when society moves on without them.

    I’ve posted before that the people who really object to the continual perversion of democracy by unionism are the moderates. Anyone starting to believe me now?