“I have always said that I will talk to anyone interested in policing.”

As expected, UDA leader Jackie McDonald – pictured [from the Irish News] greeting Irish President Mary McAleese at a Belfast primary school in 2005, as referenced in this postdid attend the conference at a Belfast hotel today to workshop how the £1.2milion of public funds might be spent. The Press Association report notes McDonald’s understanding of The Process™ as it now relates to the UDA, and his comments on decommissioning – “it`s still not on the radar” – which is not that different from what he had previosly said to UTV’s Ivan Little.From the PA report

[Jackie McDonald] said: “If there`s political stability, and there still isn`t, and the loyalist people don`t feel threatened, it`s an inevitability in a future normal society that there`s no need for weapons.

“It (decommissioning) is a distinct possibility, but the way things stand at the moment, it`s still not on the radar.”

The loyalist chief said: “The British and Irish Governments basically bought the weapons off the IRA at the end of the day.

“Until loyalism is afforded the same respect and dialogue about their future, then the loyalist people still do feel threatened and still do feel left out.”

UTV’s Ivan Little was there too – the report will be online later is online here [approx 1/3 of the way through report] [Updated link] – and in that report Jackie McDonald expanded on the reasons why, he believes, weapons continue to be required by the UDA – citing threats within loyalist communities, such as drug dealing gangs, and elements of republicanism.

Something for Hugh Orde, the Chief Constable of the actual Police Service, to consider further, perhaps?

[Hugh Orde] said: “People will do well to recognise the complexities of policing in Northern Ireland.

“I have always said that I will talk to anyone interested in policing, and this is clear evidence of a group of people trying to move on.”

Oh, and as well as a quick reminder of the previously noted poisonous foundations of The Process™, there is a different school of thought on how to deal with for-profit terrorists..

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  • Glensman

    I still can’t get over the way people on this site just refer to UDA leaders. This is still an illegal and armed organisation. Is there any word of someone just arresting these people and not letting them out to they agree to disarm?

  • Irish Republican in America

    The loyalist chief said: “The British and Irish Governments basically bought the weapons off the IRA at the end of the day…”

    I’m sure it can be argued that the British Government GAVE the UDA their weapons. I’m sure there’s an easy return receipt somewhere…

    (i agree glensman)

  • Henry94

    I can’t believe Slugger is featuring the wrong handshake today. I hope it’s some kind of joke.

  • Rubicon

    “the conference at a Belfast hotel today to workshop how the £1.2milion of public funds might be spent.”

    Am I to understand that £1.2 milllion of public money has been assigned to no business plan? Did the SoS assign this money without a business plan?

    If so, I hope the new minister puts an immediate stop to this.

    As for the “British and Irish Governments basically bought the weapons off the IRA” it seems loyalists still have to understand democracy in a manner that can distinguish rackateering from public policy making. The former requires brute force, violence and weapons, the latter requires votes. The unionist people (though less so its politicians) haven’t given their votes to loyalist paramilitaries. Without these votes, without a public policy, without a business case for the use of public funds these thugs just need picked up and put through the criminal justice system.

    A good start would be picking up what the dogs in the street (abd even NI journalists) know to be the leaders of loyalist groups that feed off and destroy deprived unionist areas. Put them out of the equation, lock them up or at least put them on the run – and then leave the people who’ve suffered under these thugs, the thugs they won’t vote for, to articulate to those they did vote for what they need.

    Form a business case from that consultation, add zeros to the £1.2 million and offer a fair opportunity to the deprived. Unfortunately, unionist politicians aren’t exactly keen on this – they need the loyalist thugs to police their cultural parades and haven’t the balls to confront crime and exploitation – unless it’s republicans that they think are doing it.

    It’s a open disgrace that unionism has failed to deal with loyalists. For some unionists its because they don’t give a damn – for others its cowardice – and for many its vested interest served having willing cannon fodder.

  • loftholdingswood

    “”the conference at a Belfast hotel today to workshop how the £1.2milion of public funds might be spent.”

    Am I to understand that £1.2 milllion of public money has been assigned to no business plan? Did the SoS assign this money without a business plan? ”

    The £1.2 million has been allocated under a detailed and independently verified business plan and the money will be managed by FARSET. It is an appalling piece of inaccurate reporting.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The £1.2 million has been allocated under a detailed and independently verified business plan

    I don’t suppose there’s any chance of the UDA revealing to us what that plan is ?

  • wise up

    As long as the 1.2 million is in a brown paper bag by the weekend.

  • loftholdingswood

    “I don’t suppose there’s any chance of the UDA revealing to us what that plan is ?”

    The clue is in the phrase ‘Conflict Transformation Initiative’. To transform. To move away from conflict. To take an initiative. A three year plan. 12 key workers spread over the six geographical areas. Admin support. Consulting with members, seeking to move forward. Engaging with stakeholders (today was a start)looking at ways that (to coin a Frankie Gallagher phrase) we can help them and they can help us.

    If I was to theorise exactly what will happen in the three years my crystal ball (if I had one) would show me three radical moves in the three years. Three huge things (in Loyalist terms that is), one,two,three. Each solidifying the intent and purpose of the transformation. Each building confidence.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “The clue is in the phrase ‘Conflict Transformation Initiative’.”

    If there is an actual business plan that has actually been writted and approved, why do you insist on this shadow play of hints and clues? The more you go on in this vein, the more it sounds like a grifter’s patter. why not simply publish it publicly and be done with it?

    LHW: “To transform. To move away from conflict. To take an initiative.”

    Once more, this time with whole sentences, if you would.

    LHW: “12 key workers spread over the six geographical areas. Admin support. Consulting with members, seeking to move forward.”

    Sinceures for a couple of degreed folks… consulting fees for top hard men…

    LHW: “Engaging with stakeholders (today was a start)looking at ways that (to coin a Frankie Gallagher phrase) we can help them and they can help us.”

    One hand washes the other… One wonders if the blood will ever come off.

    LHW: “If I was to theorise exactly what will happen in the three years my crystal ball (if I had one) would show me three radical moves in the three years. Three huge things (in Loyalist terms that is), one,two,three. Each solidifying the intent and purpose of the transformation. Each building confidence. ”

    What, three fat monetary installments from honest tax payors to the hard men?

    A pity Unionism lacked the wherewithal to set the same bar for all paramilitary groups.

  • loftholdingswood

    Dread,

    If you understood the constituency (that is the membership of the UDA) then you would understand the need to complete a transformation in a measured consensual way that will not leave any person or persons (or splinter groups) behind. To do that will take time and require a degree of finesse. It will be done in a way to satisfy beyond doubt (though it will never convince you I’m sure) that the military part of the campaign is over.

    Yesterday you thought we were simply conning ‘muppets’. Now that we have spoken to over 100 stakeholders (including representatives of all the main churches)you should take the time to avail yourself of the list of attendees and subject them to your queries as I am sure they will be able to give you their opinion on our veracity and commitment to transform. Or was there something in the air at the Stormont Hotel that somehow caused a mass delusion?

    Ultimately, as in all things, time will show who is accurate and who is the muppet.

  • Rubicon

    Lofty – you’re asking for money and time to persuade thugs, drug dealers and rackateers to stop ruining the lives of hteir neighbours. What’s the consultation with the churches going to achieve? Absolution?

    Give me breath! These thugs have no political cause, have no political representation and serve no public good.

    The time and money you ask for I’d give you; hard time at the tax payers expense!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “If you understood the constituency (that is the membership of the UDA) then you would understand the need to complete a transformation in a measured consensual way that will not leave any person or persons (or splinter groups) behind.”

    Your response has absolutely notion to do with either my criticisms or my questions. The more you seek to obfuscate, the less I am inclined to believe what few answers you give.

    Besides, should any prove incorrigible, they will become a matter for law enforcement, so none will be left behind, in any case.

    LHW: “Yesterday you thought we were simply conning ‘muppets’. Now that we have spoken to over 100 stakeholders (including representatives of all the main churches)you should take the time to avail yourself of the list of attendees and subject them to your queries as I am sure they will be able to give you their opinion on our veracity and commitment to transform. Or was there something in the air at the Stormont Hotel that somehow caused a mass delusion? ”

    It wouldn’t be the first time the Emperor had no clothes…

    I don’t want snappy patter, LHW, and that would appear to be the only thing your have to offer.

    If there is a business plan, why are you unable to produce it for public consumption? If such a document existed, complete with monies for independent audit of the program, that would allay some doubts. Yet, when asked, you simple bark away like a fast-talking carnie, seeking legitimacy by dropping names and a few pretty words.

    So far, you’re all sizzle with not a hint of steak.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The clue is in the phrase ‘Conflict Transformation Initiative’. To transform. To move away from conflict. To take an initiative. A three year plan. 12 key workers spread over the six geographical areas. Admin support. Consulting with members, seeking to move forward. Engaging with stakeholders (today was a start)looking at ways that (to coin a Frankie Gallagher phrase) we can help them and they can help us.

    That’s not a business plan, that’s a load of spin and buzzwords. A business plan among other things explains return on investment. What’s the return on investment for our £1.2m?

    If your RoI is peace in exchange for ongoing regular payments of a few quid, it’s not a business plan. It’s plain old extortion.

    I’ve got a better business plan for you, and it’s in one sentence. It’s called “you’ve got six months to disarm and disband, or the PSNI does it for you”. The electorate don’t want you. There is no evidence that your organization commands any support. This would be your last chance to get out of sight, or be put out of sight. This dirty deal reminds me of Michael Corleone in the Godfather Part 3 trying to make himself legitimate. You people need to either get yourselves elected in place of the people that you have already appointed to represent your community, or please go away.

    This deal between Paisley and Adams isn’t going to go well for you guys. With Sinn Fein supporting the PSNI, and Paisley supporters calling for the disbandment of the IRA army council (a concession he may yet get), you’re going to find Paisley under pressure to call upon unionists to turn out the paramilitaries in their midst. With the devolution of the Justice ministry, policing priorities and actions will be determined in Belfast by either a DUP or Sinn Fein Justice Minister. Your days are numbered and you guys know it, that’s why you’re trying to pull this smash and grab on the NIO.

    “Yesterday you thought we were simply conning ‘muppets’. Now that we have spoken to over 100 stakeholders (including representatives of all the main churches)

    The churches have a lot in common with the paramilitaries. They are so desperate for power and influence that they’ll do anything to be seen glad-handling politicians and paramilitaries, like they did on the Loyalist Commission whenever Johnny Adair turned up to meet with various politicians and clerics. What sort of Christianity is that, providing a cover for a paramilitary organization which refuses to disarm and which demands blackmail money in exchange for a quiet life ?

  • ffs

    FFS, just arrest these pumped up, strutting, spide cretins if they won’t abide by the new dispensation. Their time is GONE. Stop pandering to the dregs, there is no longer any ‘need’.

  • bertie

    the world has gone stark staring mad!!!

  • Dublin Exile

    Dread –
    Whats this fixation you have with ‘business plans’? The CTI hasn’t gone to the bank looking for a loan, this project is not about turning a profit. This is a different endeavour altogether and the language you are using suggests to me that you dont know the first thing about peace work, conflict transformation, or even basic community work.

  • Rubicon

    Dublin Exile – all public money requires expenditure against a business plan. It has nothing to do with turning a profit but delivering an outcome against which the expenditure of public money can be accounted for.

    As a Dubliner I’m sure you’ll understand the role of brown envelopes and Dublin Council planning decisions. This seems more of the same.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DE: “Whats this fixation you have with ‘business plans’? The CTI hasn’t gone to the bank looking for a loan, this project is not about turning a profit.”

    I wouldn’t buy a used car from these thugs, let alone simply hand them 1.2 million in used, unmarked fivers. We have been told they have a plan, why is kept a deep secret? What is wrong with the public knowing just what they are paying for — would you pay 1.2 million for a pig in a poke?

    DE: “This is a different endeavour altogether and the language you are using suggests to me that you dont know the first thing about peace work, conflict transformation, or even basic community work.”

    Hardly — every govenrment grant has to have a proposal — hopefully, the government is not in the business of just handing out cash without any strings or evidence of fore-thought. It sounds to me that your best argument is more about semantics than substance, more terminology than terra firma. As for knowing about community work, my spouse works on grant proposals, so I suspect I know a bit more than you expect.

    Likewise, Lofty has been touting this plan to the heavens, which leaves me with the question of “if it’s such a great plan, why is it kept such a dark secret?”

  • Rubicon

    Dread – I’d not much worry about Dublin Exile’s points. She/He’s exiled from a city found guilty of corruption and is in no place to lecture others. You have to acknowledge bare faced arrogance though. With the Dial debating emergency legislation to deal with its own thuggery the odd refugee – having learned nothing at all from their own home – decides to advise others on matters they know nothing about.

    Very good Dublin Exile – you put the point – now deliver. I’d like you to explain what this 1.2 million will be used for; what are the objectives, who is responsible and what moderating mechanisms have been put in place to ensure payments are phased on the basis of delivery.

    Excuse me if I’m not the self proclaimed expert you claim to be on conflict resolution. Rather than puffing yourself up, you might attend to answering the question – we are asking what £1.2 of public money is aimed at delivering. You’ve not answered the question. But, as a Dublin Exile, I expect you’re not very sharp on understanding corruption when it’s happening in front of your nose.

    Don’t lecture on peace when you have no desire to achieve an outcome. You smell of brown envelope!

    Loyalist paramilitary groups WILL go – it is a matter of timing and process. Their demise has nothing to do with peace. It’s a matter of being determined to rid thugs from NI society.

    If you feel so fond of these gangsters – take them to your own city. Would you be as fond of them there? Or is it that your righteous attitude means we have to put up with them?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rubicon: “Dread – I’d not much worry about Dublin Exile’s points. She/He’s exiled from a city found guilty of corruption and is in no place to lecture others. You have to acknowledge bare faced arrogance though.”

    Isn’t that always the way? Not to get too biblical, but folks are always more worried about your mote than their plank.

    But the real annoyance is just how much that ain’t so that get tossed around, from LHW sounding like a carnival barker’s flim-flam and spin to Two Nations trying to paint the rural branch of the UDA as some sort of small town heroes to Dublin Exile’s “How dare you ask about the secret plans!!” Its all long on rhetoric and happy smiles, but far short on detail. No one has had a credible answer as to just what this 1.2 million buys, other than some happy thugs.

    Rubicon: “Very good Dublin Exile – you put the point – now deliver. I’d like you to explain what this 1.2 million will be used for; what are the objectives, who is responsible and what moderating mechanisms have been put in place to ensure payments are phased on the basis of delivery.”

    While you’re at it, DE, I’d like a little information on what controls are in place — who has financial oversight, who will be auditing this project and how many of the “big men” will be receiving “consulting fees.”

    Rubicon: “Loyalist paramilitary groups WILL go – it is a matter of timing and process. Their demise has nothing to do with peace. It’s a matter of being determined to rid thugs from NI society. ”

    Unfortunately, it will come after this effort at danegeld has come and gone, when the ordinary folk of Northern Ireland decide that it is time for these hoodlums to go.

  • loftholdingswood

    Dublin exile,

    Thank you for your comments. In simple terms (that even Dread can understand) the £1.2 million is to be used to employ 12 workers (2 in each of the six areas) plus 3 admin workers spread over 3 years. It is not 1.2mill every year but 1.2 spread over the 3 years. The ‘business plan’ is a quantifiable reduction in criminality and paramilitary activity together with initiatives to bring confidence to the Loyalist community. The IMC will ‘measure’ certain aspects of the process and report regularly. The continuation of the funding is subject to the specified improvements sought. The funding will be controlled by FARSET and thus will not be accessible by any individual or organisation.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “the £1.2 million is to be used to employ 12 workers (2 in each of the six areas) plus 3 admin workers spread over 3 years.”

    Doing what, precisely?

    LHW: “It is not 1.2mill every year but 1.2 spread over the 3 years. The ‘business plan’ is a quantifiable reduction in criminality and paramilitary activity together with initiatives to bring confidence to the Loyalist community.”

    No, Lofty, that would be “the goal,” not that plan. You’re boot-strapping again, trying to use your desired result as a description of the methodology. The “business plan” cum grant proposal should also describe the “how” of achieving the goal, not the goal itself. Is that too complex a concept for you?

    LHW: “The IMC will ‘measure’ certain aspects of the process and report regularly.”

    More bootstrapping, seeing as the IMC was measuring Loyalist criminality and violence anyway. Are there any benchmarks, or will this simply be made up as you go along?

    LHW: “The continuation of the funding is subject to the specified improvements sought. ”

    And what are the benchmarks? I’d also like to see a break-down of the proposed budget, but given that you’re more spin than substance, I shan’thold my breath.

  • loftholdingswood

    The breakdown for the proposed budget was compiled by FARSET and then passed onto an independent firm of accountants. If you contact the DSD I presume they would find it acceptable to give you a copy of the spreadsheet together with a copy of the proposal (where your questions regarding specifics are addressed). Please let us know how you get on. I am surprised you have not approached either the DSD or FARSET yet. Are you not interested in this at all or just happy to post snide comments on the net without venturing out into the real world?

  • loftholdingswood

    Ah, silence. Let us all understand that faced with an opportunity to question FARSET or the DSD or even perhaps contact DR Joe Camplisson (who has assisted in the development of the proposal and who has been a notable peace campaigner for 30 years) the ever reliable Dread does NOTHING. He much prefers to stick to denigrating individuals via the keyboard but cannot find it in himself to pick up a phone or even visit these independent people (and, hush, don’t mention this – but catholic individuals who have assisted in the process) and see what they think of this new initiative.

    So full of anger yet so short of desire to contribute.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “Ah, silence. Let us all understand that faced with an opportunity to question FARSET or the DSD or even perhaps contact DR Joe Camplisson (who has assisted in the development of the proposal and who has been a notable peace campaigner for 30 years) the ever reliable Dread does NOTHING. ”

    Actually, when faced with the desire for a pint and a steak, Dread goes down to the steak-house. tsk tsk tsk… counting chickens already, are you?

    I also notice that you are either unable or unwilling to answer his direct questions, suggesting to Dread that either A) you don’t know the answers or B) There are no answers to give, hence your continual imitation of a whirling dervish, spinning, spinning, spinning…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Having poked around the FARSET site that came up on Google, there is nary a whisper regarding this initiative… It’s not that user friendly page — broken links and dead-end connections — a wonderful metaphor for the UDA, come to think of it.

    The best one obtains from the DSD is a news release, with scant detail and the usually political “smiley faces” that get slapped on anything — not quite as much spin as Lofty, but enough to be noticeable…

  • loftholdingswood

    I know the answers (and have explained them as best I can based on the fact that I am not authorised to go into details with an internet wannabe), you are just unwilling to seek them out for fear of hearing answers that may offend your limited sensibilities. You have been rumbled fair and square; invited to ask hard questions you bottle it and indulge in petty point scoring.

    In my very limited way I am seeking a solution to the problems that blight this society. I am getting my hands dirty and facing up to my responsibilities. I am at the pit face pushing and prodding my colleagues and friends to face up to the new reality. What exactly are you doing?

  • loftholdingswood

    “Having poked around the FARSET site that came up on Google, there is nary a whisper regarding this initiative… It’s not that user friendly page—broken links and dead-end connections—a wonderful metaphor for the UDA, come to think of it.”

    Ever heard of the telephone? Ever thought of popping in to speak to a real live human being? Nope, internet,internet,internet. You need to get out more, not just for a pint but to engage with people. It might just open those blinkered eyes.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “I know the answers (and have explained them as best I can based on the fact that I am not authorised to go into details with an internet wannabe)”

    Tut tut, Lofty — sticks and stones and all that.

    You do not provide answers, you provide spin.

    When asked about the means, you tell us the goal.

    When asked about financial controls, you spin some more and refer us to other sources, often wondering why anyone would have doubts about handing monies out without a clear answer on what they will be doing.

    And if you answer hasn’t changed, its going to take a hell of a lot more than a dozen social workers and three admin assistants to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that is the UDA.

    LHW: “you are just unwilling to seek them out for fear of hearing answers that may offend your limited sensibilities.”

    Actually, having looked at your recommended sources and their comments are little more than press releases. No detail, no real information.

    LHW: “In my very limited way I am seeking a solution to the problems that blight this society. I am getting my hands dirty and facing up to my responsibilities. I am at the pit face pushing and prodding my colleagues and friends to face up to the new reality. What exactly are you doing? ”

    What I am doing — I am asking questions — one’s you have no concrete answers for. If one is unable or unwilling to see the flaws in a design, one is doomed to failure. I am questioning the wisdow of appeasement — to the granting of resources on the promise of improvement from what have been demonstrably incorrible hoods.

    Monies have been poured into these areas before with little to show for the effort. You have given no answers as to why this time should be any different.

    I am questioning the suggestion inherent to this process that there is a “good” UDA and and “bad” UDA.

    Until and unless you have answers, there is no reason not to be skeptical of this boondoggle.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “Ever heard of the telephone? Ever thought of popping in to speak to a real live human being? Nope, internet,internet,internet. You need to get out more, not just for a pint but to engage with people. It might just open those blinkered eyes.”

    Were this truly on the level and the greatest thing since sliced bread, I would think that they would want to make the information accessible to the maximum number of people possible, which would be publishing.

    As for the other, I want to review the information at my leisure, develop questions and see for myself, rather than listen to another carnival barker going through their spiel.

    I want something more than a tour through a Potemkin village and a grifter’s cant.