“as we have seen with republicans involved in processes..”

In the Belfast Telegraph Brian Rowan reports that, with public funds of £1.2million allocated by the Secretary of State for Wales etc and after having expelled certain members, what are described in the report as “senior loyalists”, presumably the UDA leadership, are expected to attend a conference [organised by? – Ed] at a Belfast hotel tomorrow with invited guests.. [with workshops, natch – Ed] And among those invited guests.. the Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde.. *shakes head*Some choice quotes from the report

“The message is that I and other people will need to be convinced,” the Chief Constable told the Belfast Telegraph.

“That means tangible changes in behaviour and decommissioning.

“The very fact that they have called this conference should be seen as a positive event.

“It’s a good thing. It’s good to talk. You always learn something at these things.”

If I thought it was for intelligence gathering then I might see some purpose in the Chief Constable attending.. As it is, however..

Frankie Gallagher, of the Ulster Political Research Group, told the Telegraph: “This is the beginning of a process of talking to others and listening.

“We are committed to change, but change, as we have seen with republicans involved in processes, needs time and needs external help.”

, ,

  • It might appear that this is designed to tie the hands of the incoming SDLP Minister if they were to try to stop the funding. Such a public display in advance od devolution…..might the hand of Mr. Hain be all over this

  • Dread Cthulhu

    So, in essence, what we have here is a dog and pony show, complete with blue smoke and mirrors.

    In the end, the thugs will have the money, keep their guns and we get to go to round two.

  • Rapunsel

    I posted this comment on another thread last night but it seems most relevant here. It’s not only the Chief Constable that will need to be convinced

    “Funny, first thing I thought today when I heard that SDLP would take DSD was that funding to the UPRG via Farset Community Enterprises. Haven’t seen the Letter of Offer myself but would expect , as all such contracts invariably do, that the provision of grant is dependent upon there being the resources to dole out. I don’t believe that should a decision be taken to terminate a funding contract with a particular group that an executive decision would be necessary. However lets not get carried away here. the deal with the UPRG is done and has strings attached, there would only IMHO be limited political capital for the SDLP to try and terminate the relationship once in government. Expect some statement along the lines that the minister will be taking a close interest in the case and that being the end of the issue for the time being. Of course the scandal is not necessarily that DSD are funding Farset to support community based initiatives in area where the UDA has a presence but that the aim of the funding is to bolster UPRG support and to essentially facilitate the imposition of UDA control within certain communities. However money doesn’t buy community cohesion or control for community organisations and the DSD strategy will fail. The main reason it will fail is that we are still at the stage where grant funding is seen as an opportunity to pay off key UDA players with half decent salaries or consultancy contracts. The normal standards of fair and transparent recruitment proceesses will not apply to this grant—you can be sure of that—and expect—as I am informed happended with the pilot initiatives – for individuals like Frankie Gallagher , Sammy Duddy et al to be paid handsome consultancy fees so avoiding the fair employment issue , despite their experience , skill and track record in community development being weak to say the least. A new minister might realistically demand that civil servants ensure that there is transparency, accountability and adherence to the law in the delivery of any funded project”

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rapunzel: “Of course the scandal is not necessarily that DSD are funding Farset to support community based initiatives in area where the UDA has a presence but that the aim of the funding is to bolster UPRG support and to essentially facilitate the imposition of UDA control within certain communities.”

    Worse than that, Rapunzel… it provides a veneer of legitimacy over this collection of political sock-puppets and the band of thugs they represent… danegeld paid to the thugs through the offices of their political muppets, all in the name of providing an air of legitimacy to UPRG.

    Rapunzel: “However money doesn’t buy community cohesion or control for community organisations and the DSD strategy will fail. The main reason it will fail is that we are still at the stage where grant funding is seen as an opportunity to pay off key UDA players with half decent salaries or consultancy contracts. The normal standards of fair and transparent recruitment proceesses will not apply to this grant—you can be sure of that—and expect—as I am informed happended with the pilot initiatives – for individuals like Frankie Gallagher , Sammy Duddy et al to be paid handsome consultancy fees so avoiding the fair employment issue , despite their experience , skill and track record in community development being weak to say the least.”

    As the project expands, expect to find other thugs at the trough, lack of qualification and education not withstanding.

    Rapunzel: ” new minister might realistically demand that civil servants ensure that there is transparency, accountability and adherence to the law in the delivery of any funded project” ”

    I have repeatedly inquired after independent analysis / auditors reports regarding this initiative… the silence has been deafening, save for the occasional offer of a Potemkin village tour.

  • loftholdingswood

    I can’t (and won’t) comment on the conference until after it has finished.

    Rapunsel,

    Until the staff have been recruited it seems premature to comment on the calibre of the employee surely?. From what I hear both the DSD and FARSET have been deeply impressed with the contributions of the younger element (and the more progressive elements/people that appear to have taken hold in the UPRG) that have taken part in the pilot scheme and I hope they apply for staff positions.

    Dread,

    You didn’t get an invite to tomorrows event then? Sure you would not have enjoyed it anyway, it is more of my smoke and mirrors together with a touch of old fashioned razzmatazz. Why not wait for the reaction of the 100+ people who attend tomorrow? It will be interesting to see what they think.

  • loftholdingswood

    And yes ‘Ed’, there will be workshops. Life is meaningless without workshops. The world revolves around workshops.

  • rapunsel

    “Until the staff have been recruited it seems premature to comment on the calibre of the employee surely?. From what I hear both the DSD and FARSET have been deeply impressed with the contributions of the younger element (and the more progressive elements/people that appear to have taken hold in the UPRG) that have taken part in the pilot scheme and I hope they apply for staff positions. ”

    You seem to be reinforcing my point. Is it not the case that no staff were recruited for the pilot initiative? Is it not the case that senior members of the UPRG were given consultancy contracts to deliver the work thus avoiding fair and transparent recruitment and selection processes?

    Is it not reasonable for one to be cynical about such a process whether in loyalist or other communities when what might be expected now is more of the same?

    Name me one community where the UDA is notionally in control where projects with links to UDA or UPRG have been successful. The track record is very very poor.

    I wish it wasn’t for the sake of the communities involved.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “You didn’t get an invite to tomorrows event then? Sure you would not have enjoyed it anyway, it is more of my smoke and mirrors together with a touch of old fashioned razzmatazz. Why not wait for the reaction of the 100+ people who attend tomorrow? It will be interesting to see what they think. ”

    A body can’t receive that which was never sent.

    Likewise, your utter silence regarding independent verification of the various claims speaks volumes. Has no one audited this boondoggle? Or are we left with just the claims of the thugs’ muppets and the political hacks?

    Likewise, as has been pointed out on multiple occasions, these thugs have no political support outside of their own memberships and cronies. Why would I be impressed by a big “amen” out of this collection of sycophants and goons?

  • Sean

    Well dread face it Amen is a two syllable word and thats a big step up

    Imagine if they got all the way to Hallelujah

  • Pete Baker

    Sean

    Can we keep the one-liners to a minimum, please?

    There are important issues behind this topic and they’ll not be advanced without considered comment.

    One minor issue is the adoption of corporate-speak in this ‘project’ – as identified by lofty.

    More importantly, as has been pointed out here previously, is the issue rapunsel notes – namely the gifting of political, as well as financial, capital to the UDA/UPRG by both the British and Irish governments.. not to mention other “community groups”..

  • loftholdingswood

    ‘Why would I be impressed by a big “amen” out of this collection of sycophants and goons?’

    Have you seen the guest list? Don’t think Hugh Orde and assorted dignitaries would be too happy with you. Likewise all the political hacks, a hapless bunch of misfits, national (as in daily national i.e London)failures, wannabes and not as clever as they like to think types, to be sure, but normally cynical and can spot a dodgy deal a mile off.

    And FARSET are independent so would be very aggrieved at your slurs. To call them muppets is to devalue over 10 years of valuable cross community work.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “Have you seen the guest list? Don’t think Hugh Orde and assorted dignitaries would be too happy with you. ”

    I’m heartbroken… really I am.

    Lofty, let’s see some facts — you’re long on rhetoric and short on substance. Make all the promises you like — you paint a really pretty picture — but words are meaningless without deeds.

    The UDA, at present, are still the same collection of tattooed hoods who extort construction sites and push their drugs. They are still armed.

    I have seen no act of good faith from these hoods, just a grubby paw stuck out for a handful of danegeld.

  • Briso

    Can I just congratulate Pete for getting republicans and not loyalists into the title again?

  • Ian

    What happened to the “show of strength” that the SE Antrim UDA ‘Brigadier’ was going to be holding in Rathcoole last weekend?

    LHW, can you enlighten?