In return for the funding the government wants to see..

When announcing previous funding of UPRG schemes, the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain stated “Suggestions that the Government would ‘buy off’ paramilitaries by handing them £70m or £30m are without any foundation whatsoever. Not only are they wrong, they are wilfully mischievous.” Well, maybe not £30million. How about £1million? It seems that Mr Hain was listening to Jackie McDonald last week. It’s all part of The Process™, you know..From the BBC report

Secretary of State Peter Hain said: “For some time now, the political leadership of the loyalist community associated with the UDA has wanted to move the whole of the community away from paramilitarism and gangsterism and criminality onto a democratic political path.

“Onto a path where the loyalist cultural and political tradition can be respected in a normal rule of the law and peacefi; fashion.

“But not one involving violence or intimidation or any kind of paramilitary activity.

“We gave them a trial period, over a period of months to see how this work could progress and now we have agreed a long-term support for this objective, which I think is vital.”

The 14th IMC report didn’t focus specifically on paramilitary and criminal activity but it did have this to say

Although loyalist paramilitaries are actively engaged in violence and other forms of serious crime, and in our view have decided against early decommissioning, we do not believe that they pose a present threat to the security forces. There is evidence of senior figures seeking to lead the organisations away from crime although their impact so far has been limited and patchy. Their threat is therefore not at present a problem for security normalisation. [added emphasis]

And from the January this year, the 13th IMC Report

The UPRG continues its initiatives in support of community development. However, the pace of all these various efforts is steady rather than urgent. There are said to be loyalist concerns about the threat from dissident republicans and it has been put to us that until there is more assurance of political stability this pace is not likely to change. However, despite the personal commitment on the part of people directly involved and the progress that has been made, there is still a very long way to go, as paragraphs 2.26 and 2.27 above indicate. If the work on conflict transformation is to remain credible the pace of change needs to quicken or any momentum will be lost.

Also in the BBC report, Frankie Gallagher of the UPRG

Frankie Gallagher of the UPRG said “the community is the paramilitary organisation… they (the UDA) are an integral part of the community”.

“The money is not going to the UDA, it is not going to UDA personnel or into their coffers,” he said.

“It is going to a legitimate organisation which has existed for some 20 years and which has been at the forefront of peace-building in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.”

But the telling part is the BBC report’s description of what the money will be spent on.. and the circumstances under which it will be withdrawn

The money will be used to open a number of offices in areas where the UDA has a strong presence, and to employ up to a dozen staff.

The funding application was drawn up after widespread consultation with UDA members in a series of meetings throughout Northern Ireland.

The UPRG claimed there was a genuine desire to change and for the UDA to become a community association rather than a terrorist group.

In return for the funding, the government wants to see the end of all UDA violence and criminality, including extortion rackets and drug dealing.

If there is no noticeable reduction in these activities, the UPRG has been told that the funding will be withdrawn.

Full steam ahead then.. and nevermind those foundations..

Adds That’s £1.2million.. apparently. More quotes and political reaction here

And Statement from NIO Minister David Hanson MP – “Government expects end to paramilitarism” [New link]

  • mickhall

    Or maybe Hain will just give the Northern Banks back door key to Jackie, and ask the RUC/PSNI to turn off all their CCTV for maintance and send their bank robbery squad on a gap year.

  • Yokel

    Just how, prey tell will the government reclaim their mil if the UDA dont behave?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “The money will be used to open a number of offices in areas where the UDA has a strong presence, and to employ up to a dozen staff. ”

    Cuz, y’know, the boys need paychecks… not that these moral midgets will do much work, mind you, but they need paychecks.

    “The funding application was drawn up after widespread consultation with UDA members in a series of meetings throughout Northern Ireland.”

    Oh, good — *All* the thugs had their say…

    “The UPRG claimed there was a genuine desire to change and for the UDA to become a community association rather than a terrorist group. ”

    And, yet, this collection of tattoo-ed terrors has not seen fit to give up their arms, have they? As for UPRG, all they represent are the thugs with the guns. They have no mandate to speak for anyone other than the beetle-browed bully-boys.

    “In return for the funding, the government wants to see the end of all UDA violence and criminality, including extortion rackets and drug dealing. ”

    I hope no one is holding their breath on this one…

    “If there is no noticeable reduction in these activities, the UPRG has been told that the funding will be withdrawn.”

    At which point, the thugs will throw their toys out of the pram, generating a spike in the crime statistics. Brown-trouser time for the bureaucrats, at which point, UPRG will pop up for the next installment of their Danegeld.

  • overhere

    In return for the funding, the government wants to see the end of all UDA violence and criminality, including extortion rackets and drug dealing. “

    So they do not have to hand over the guns then, that’s handy for the next installment I suppose.

    Still nothing from the Doc and his crew

  • Ian

    This doesn’t include the South East Antrim Brigade, is that right? Since they fell out with the other Brigades last year. So they’ll come demanding a similar payout at some point.

    Can someone clarify whether by “South East Antrim Brigade” they mean the geographical south-east of Antrim i.e. from Newtownabbey through Carrickfergus to Larne, or whether it covers both the South Antrim and East Antrim constituencies, i.e. including an area west of belfast stretching to Lough Neagh?

  • loftholdingswood

    Ian,

    The proposal does include SEA (South East Antrim) and geographically you have it correct in your first description (as I understand it). The funding will be for 2 workers in each area (2 x 6) plus admin staff in both Belfast and Londonderry (2 in each). So make that 16 workers

    Please read the release from the DSD as it fully explains what is required from this initiative. There is also a written press statement from the UPRG flying about. It makes fascinating reading.And no doubt the local news coverage will feature an interview with Mr Gallagher.

  • Ian

    So has Mr Kirkham etc made up with Mr Gallagher etc, or is the government not making a distinction between two still-feuding factions (described in a previous Slugger thread as the “Good UDA” and “Bad UDA”)?

    I’m just curious as to the prospect of the NIO getting serious egg on their collective faces if/when the feud between the Shoukris/SEAntrim and the rest of the UDA kicks off again.

    Incidentally, is this initiative still being headed up by the senior civil servant who is heavily implicated in the cover-up over the appointment of the Interim Victims Commissioner? If so, that could be a key factor in the argument of anyone who might seek a judicial review of the initiative on equality grounds…

  • Ian

    Overhere:

    “Still nothing from the Doc and his crew”

    To be fair, on UTV Sammy Wilson made a token effort at objecting to it, albeit qualified (along the lines of “I suppose it’s inevitable considering how much PIRA have got blah blah”)

  • loftholdingswood

    Ian,

    I can’t answer your further question on a public forum such as this. Suffice to say that in the coming weeks there will be developments and these will no doubt be announced at the appropriate time.

    The NIO will not be getting egg on their face.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Ian: “To be fair, on UTV Sammy Wilson made a token effort at objecting to it, albeit qualified (along the lines of “I suppose it’s inevitable considering how much PIRA have got blah blah”) ”

    If one must accept that comparison, Ian, allow me to ask you — who does the UPRG / UDA represent? Their political support is next to nil, even within their so-called “strongholds.”

  • Ian

    DC,

    I quite agree with you, they were Sammy Wilson’s words [paraphrased], not mine!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “The NIO will not be getting egg on their face. ”

    Sure they won’t — at least no more than any other time.

    The UDA is unwilling (or sufficiently ill-disciplined as to be unable) to disarm or cease their criminal activity. It’s only a matter of time before this scheme goes off the rails.

  • loftholdingswood

    Dread,

    Time will tell. There was sufficient ‘improvement’ seen by the Government during the six month pilot scheme to follow this up with a three year funding extension.

    It is interesting to note that during the course of the six month pilot project numerous meetings were held throughout the country with UDA members to discuss the way forward. I understand over 4000 people were spoken to and listened to. There was an overwhelming acceptance that the military battle was over and that the next battle would take place in the political arena. If the mind accepts that violence is no longer an option then logic dictates that the body will follow.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “It is interesting to note that during the course of the six month pilot project numerous meetings were held throughout the country with UDA members to discuss the way forward.”

    In short, it represents nothing but the UDA and their guns.

    LHW: “There was an overwhelming acceptance that the military battle was over and that the next battle would take place in the political arena.”

    And yet the drugs are still dealt, the protection monies still collected and the guns still extant.

    LHW: “If the mind accepts that violence is no longer an option then logic dictates that the body will follow. ”

    Even the prettiest words ring hollow when there are no deeds to support them. The UDA has made clear they are not interested in disarming. The UPRG represents only the UDA and its arsenal. Even their putative strongholds won’t vote for them.

  • wing nut

    “The funding will be for 2 workers in each area (2 x 6) plus admin staff in both Belfast and Londonderry (2 in each). So make that 16 workers”

    That’s some well paid community workers.

    What qualifications do you need and where can the application forms be obtained from?

  • Ian

    “What qualifications do you need and where can the application forms be obtained from?”

    Are you suggesting that publically funded posts in NI should be subject to some kind of open competition and scrutiny to ensure the most qualified candidate is appointed? Don’t be silly now.

  • marty (not ingram)

    What qualifications do you need and where can the application forms be obtained from?

    A starter for ten I’d say the ability to flog drugs, extort money, administer beatings and participation in the murder of the odd innocent or two should be deemed essential criteria.

    Applications forms can be got from Janty at your local UDA-run bar.

    Those wearing pink jumpers, flowery shirts and bleached hair need not apply. Having said that the Jim Gray look probably isn’t as popular anymore.

  • JG

    Niewmarkt = NI