How Norn Iron’s zero-sum politics works: #2,857

LOYALIST terrorists want funding to transform their community, so nationalists complain. ‘Nationalist areas’ get more funding from a package than ‘loyalist areas’, so unionists complain.Since the DUP complaint isn’t online, here’s what PA reported:

Diane Dodds and Nelson McCausland accused Government of favouring republican areas and disadvantaging the Greater Shankill.

“Nationalist west Belfast will receive £9 million of funding for projects, whereas only £900,000 is going to community-specific projects in the Shankill,” they said.

“This means that nationalist-specific projects will get 10 times as much funding as unionist-specific projects. That 10-1 disparity is unacceptable and is the outcome of a flawed process. We didn’t ask for preferential treatment, we only asked for equality, but
the Government decided to proceed with a flawed package that was incapable of delivering an equitable outcome.”

And here’s the SDLP John Dallat’s complaint about the UDA’s pay-off:

“It really says a lot about the one-sided handout policies of the current Secretary of State that such a ludicrous claim
even gets aired. This UDA gang reckons it can transform itself into a community development body in just five years for a mere £8m.

“Democratic society should make them a counter-offer: desist from crime and rackets and you can stay out of jail.”

The East Londonderry MLA added: “No matter what promises they make, paramilitaries should not gain control of communities or community funding in any shape or form.”

I don’t think you could ask for a more perfect example of the predictable tediousness of Northern Ireland’s zero-sum politics in the space of one day.

  • Providing public funds to such pondlife – republican or loyalist – is disgusting.


    What’s the problem?
    Isn’t this the very stuff of politics?, we elect people to scream and shout on our behalf, in order to secure the best deal they can.Seems to me that everyone is doing their job, isn’t that a cause for celebration?

    Or maybe you just wanted to complain as well…..

  • John Hume

    Good to see the DUP can now multiply by ten. Who says progress is not being made?
    The SDLP make sense. The UDA/SF types should not be given funding to stop their criminal enterprises (or to dye their hair in Gerry’s case). They are the dregs. But as one set of dregs, SF, are much better organised than the otehrs, it is entirely appropriate that they should get more funding under current rules. This is for the same reason that GAA should get more funding than soccer. One is better organised and the money will go much further. When one thinks of the Shankill, one thinks of its drug culture and the ethos that drives it. The Shankill is Trainspottin’ without the wit.

  • Isn’t Mr “McAleese”already bunging them millions as it is ?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “We elect people to scream and shout on our behalf…”

    Who are “we” though?

    It’s clear from the links that they only scream and shout on behalf of their own tribe, without any regard for what is actually best for everyone.

    No wonder people are turning off politics!

  • Crataegus

    Sometimes I think of Loyalist areas like space, voids where you can scream and shout but no one hears, (unless you are armed).

  • IJP

    Another DUP rant about equality of outcome.

    What about handing out project funding on merit?

    Or not at all?

  • aquifer

    Interesting to see the DUP talking equality. How long before they admit that their sectarian pleading is just for the cameras, because unfair discrimination in publicly funded programmes is illegal in this jurisdiction.

    i.e. They may promise to be ‘more than fair’ to protestants, but may end up in court if they tried it in government or local councils.

    Little wonder they are on the run from devolution, when their political bluff would be called bigtime.

  • spice girl

    maybe SF should use the money to purchase a race track in west belfast so the joyriders would have somewhere to go, and maybe get all the kids grand theft auto on their counterfeit playstations? oh and it should pay for a couple more tankers to draw up diesel from south armagh…
    give the money to Ulster Rugby, the only professional sport in this god forsaken place that actually competes competitievly on an international stage!

  • rapunsel

    What about allocating resources on the basis of objectively identified need, factoring in projects that clearly show they can meet that ned and by organisations that can show they have the management capacity to deliver.

  • Bog warrior


    If only! Unfortunately objectivity is in the eye of the beholder. The PA report doesn’t make it clear what Dianne Dodds & Nelson McCausland’s specific problem is (maybe Fair Deal could clarify as he seems to have the inside track on DUP stories) apart from the fact that Nationalist WB appears to be getting the lion’s share of this particular bit of funding. The bigger question of whether or not this money will achieve what its setting out to do is another story. I doubt it will reverse the decline of arterial routes in the West of the city as the whole thrust of planning policy and economic investment over the past twenty years has been geared towards the city centre and out of town shopping centres.

  • Nevin

    I thought the government was supposed to be ‘asset stripping’ the paramilitary organisations – not funding their ‘concerned community groups’?

    Is this supposed to be an example of joined up government? It looks more like PPP – public paramilitary partnership.

    Have the governments also decided to ‘devolve’ aspects of policing and justice to the paramilitary godfathers, working separately or in joint ventures?

    Is their much point in voting for politicians if the governments have decided to go over their heads to the parapoliticians, elected and unelected – folks whom they would not have about the place in their own government administrations?

  • POL

    How much of the shankill is part of west belfast?(I know its only a fraction)and put this in terms of percentages in regards to the figure talked about by Dodds ie:10%. Are we really talking discrimination.Now along with this there was a few headlines recently stating that loyalist areas were not very good at the application procedures involving funding.

    This isnt taking a swipe,just an observation.

  • Setanta

    Would anyone care to put an exact figure on the population of the Shankill as a propertion of West Belfast?

    This might just help explain the 10 to 1.

  • POL

    Its not the population figures of the Shankill i am enquiring about,its the percentage area and population that is in West Belfast.The Shankill is a large area with a large population but only a proportion of the area is viewed as West Belfast.

  • Bog warrior

    The West Belfast and Shankill Jobs Taskforces estimated (in 1999) the populations of the areas they were reporting on as 85,000 for Greater West Belfast and 32,000 for the Greater Shankill. Don’t know how these figures have chnaged in intervening period.

  • fair_deal

    Bog warrior

    Sorry don’t know.

  • POL

    Maybe this will make it easier.

  • Setanta

    I think this is extremely cynical and sadly, very predictable of the DUP at the moment.

    They are dressing this up as a call for equality but conveniently ignoring the population difference which could of course mean that they wouldn’t mind an inequality in funding as long as their side came out on top.

  • Butterknife

    Solutions #1
    Loyalist paramilitaries stops all racketeering from within its community and let the community invest in positive change.

    Loyalist paramilitaries stop exerting undue influence on others who wish to make a difference in changing their communities for the better and start supporting the PSNI (who I still want to be renamed NIPD!) in word AND deed.

  • nmc

    I don’t really know the Shankill but would have thought that it is much smaller than the rest of the west if you include the Falls, Glen, Springfield, Whiterock, Poleglass, Lenadoon and too many more to mention. From the bottom of the Falls to the top of the Glen is just over five miles, I would have thought that in terms of area Nationalist West Belfast is many times larger than the Shankill. However as I said, I don’t really know the Shankill and so could be comlpetely off the mark…

    It’s clear from the links that they only scream and shout on behalf of their own tribe, without any regard for what is actually best for everyone.

    Very true, and I would have thought it politically illegal. In any other democratic country the people elected have to act on behalf of the electorate including those who did not vote for them. In this place the (majority of) politicians are permanently working against half of the community.

  • Shadowlands

    Eight and a half million to pay off the brigadiers in the Loyalist Community…?

    Gift, I say. Hand it over…let them become Spain’s problem…