Governments continuing to court UDA approval..

It’s being reported that what had been billed as a meeting between Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the UPRG will also include the leadership of the UDA – or, rather, up to four of them. It follows the report of last weekend’s secret discussion between the NIO and a go-between for the North Belfast UDA whose erstwhile leader will, presumably, not be attending today’s meeting.. being otherwise engaged.. btw how are those charges of membership of the UDA against Ihab Shoukri coming along? and are the UDA, in the words of Lord Justice Nicholson, still “notorious for criminal activity of all sorts”? I know it’s probably not even worth asking again.. but is this basis for the future really the best we can hope for?Updated Worthwhile, I think, noting the details from the BBC’s Vincent Kearney:

However, it is now expected that up to four of the UDA’s so-called brigadiers and a number of other senior figures within the organisation will attend the talks at Castle Buildings.

“They will meet Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Irish Foreign Affairs minister Dermot Ahern and senior government officials,” Mr Kearney said.

“Irish government sources say they will brief the delegation on the initiative to restore devolution – and will also discuss loyalist concerns about the constitutional position of Northern Ireland.

“The UDA representatives are expected to warn that talk of increased co-operation between the British and Irish governments in the affairs of Northern Ireland if the Stormont Assembly is not restored by 24 November is causing alarm in loyalist circles.”