“The public demands that they do that.”

Referencing, specifically, the repeated comments by the de facto leader of the ‘good’ UDA, Jackie McDonald, the Minister for Social Development Margaret Ritchie, has warned their para-political wing the UPRG that funding allocated by the current Secretary of State for Wales etc, Peter Hain, will be withdrawn if decommissioing does not occur.. although, according to the more detailed PA report, it would appear that a statement of intent might be sufficient.. and then there’s the matter of that ongoing criminal activity..

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  • joeCanuck

    Your honour, I admit that I done wrong but, if you let me go, I promise I won’t do it again. Honest, hand on my heart. You wouldn’t award me costs, would you?

  • loftholdingswood

    Ms Ritchie is quite entitled to express an opinion but it seems rather harsh to threaten to remove funding from an initiative that has yet to officially commence (It was the ‘pilot’ six month CTI scheme that was judged a success by both the Government and the DSD and was the basis for the three year action plan that was given the go ahead – and the funding). In fact the legal basis for withdrawing the funding would be an interesting test case in a court of law but that is a subject for another day. I can’t think of a more inflammatory gesture than to withdraw funding on a scheme that has not been given a chance to bear fruit. A yearly analysis will be the basis for whether to continue funding, it has not been up and running a week yet!. Ms Ritchie wants to flex some ‘muscle’ presumably and please her particular constituency. That is her right. Yet it will be Loyalist working class areas that suffer due to any withholding of funding not middle class suburbia. The now often used quote from Jackie McDonald is correct, decommissioning is not on the radar because that is NOT what the CTI was set up for. It is designed to reduce crime and criminality in Loyalist areas and eliminate any need for paramilitary involvement in those areas completely. Logic tells you that if the scheme is successful then everything and anything is theoretically possible and in fact likely if confidence is built up. It is not rocket science and the inevitability of decommissioning becomes transparent if everything else falls into place. But it takes time to build confidence as we are dealing with people who are coming out of 30 years of being shot at and blown up. And people wonder why they are suspicious and slow to respond to this alleged new dawn of a peaceful society? Give me strength.

    Castigate and belittle till your hearts are content but believe me when I tell you that it is Loyalists and Loyalists alone who will deliver the true peace that we all seek and they will do this through consent, consultation, uniting all factions and healing the divisive and corrosive problems that are currently affecting the areas that the CTI workers will be based in. I salute their courage as they begin the huge task that awaits them. I welcome the fantastic committed personal that they have employed and urge the progressive elements within CTI and the UPRG to cherish this opportunity and not be put off by the likes of Ms Ritchie.

  • carlosblancos

    ridiculous. loyalism is irrelevant, and any attempt to keep its weapons will make it even more irrelevant. ritchie is attempting to go against NIO policy of appeasing the hard-men and should be congratulated for doing so.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ms Ritchie is quite entitled to express an opinion

    More than an opinion – she’s expressing what her policy is. I’m glad that your squalid attempt to extort the taxpayer is going to be stopped until the paramilitaries behind this so-called “initiative” disarm.

    It is designed to reduce crime and criminality in Loyalist areas

    That’s what the PSNI are for.

    and eliminate any need for paramilitary involvement in those areas completely.

    What need is there for paramilitary involvement anywhere ?

    And people wonder why they are suspicious and slow to respond to this alleged new dawn of a peaceful society? Give me strength.

    I’ve got strength for you – it’s the election results. People knew what they were voting for.

    Castigate and belittle till your hearts are content but believe me when I tell you that it is Loyalists and Loyalists alone who will deliver the true peace that we all seek and they will do this through consent, consultation, uniting all factions and healing the divisive and corrosive problems that are currently affecting the areas that the CTI workers will be based in.

    You’ve got no votes, no credibility, no nothing. Let’s see some solid proof. Not just words, but deeds. Until then you guys are all just talk.

  • Rapunsel

    Not started yet? The word on the street is that Frankie Gallagher got the top job and that some wee lassie from Tullycarnet without the appropriate skills and qualifications got another top job in this initiative. Margaret Ritchie is right to be concerned because given past form UDA linked community intitiatives don’t deliver! Whilst I am prepared to give it a chance , I share the concern of the new Minister around the decommissioning issue and also what I understand to be her concerns around DSD promoting discriminatory funding initiatives

  • Disney Time

    The word on the street is that Frankie Gallagher got the top job and that some wee lassie from Tullycarnet without the appropriate skills and qualifications got another top job in this initiative

    —————————————————-

    My info is not the same as yours but I agree about Frankie Gallagher getting the top job. I also hear that Sammy duddy has landed a post. South Belfast are apparently represented by two hand picked Jackie Mac people. One is an ex-prisoner but the other is more than capable of running rings round everybody if it is who I am told it is. The rest are young and inexperienced so I am lead to believe. I also think your man davy nicholls has got a post.

  • USA

    Very suprised there have not been more posts on this topic. Margaret Ritchie is absolutely right on this one. No guns, no money.
    Loftholdingswood writes “I can’t think of a more inflammatory gesture than to withdraw funding”. Well I can think of something more inflamitory….a bunch of loyalist thugs running drugs and protection rackets armed to the teeth with weapons while expecting tax payer handouts. But ignoring the tax payers demand that they decommission.
    Loftholdingswood also tries to tie the issues of guns and support for community projects. Its simple, people from all shades will support the community projects, but if you want our money, we want your guns.
    I am also dissapointed, but not suprised, that the unionist politicos have been ignoring the issue of Loyalist weapons for years now…it took a nationalist woman to make a stand and I think she will find a lot of supporters.
    Anything less than full decomissioning is not good enough and it must be done under the watchful eyes of DeChastelain.

  • Ellie

    “Margaret Ritchie is absolutely right on this one. No guns, no money.”

    I agree. A shame that this sort of tougher attitude to paramilitarism couldn’t have been deployed years ago.

    For a long time now it seems that loyalist and republican paramilitaries have been rewarded for not shooting people. Excuse me??? I’ve never shot anyone in my life, according to the laws of the land. Where’s my wedge?

    There has been a decade of ego-massage now to puff up the importance of squalid little hoodlums as if they’re the “quare fellas”, rather than dirty low lives who should have been given a metaphorical kicking around the courts years ago.

    “Loftholdingswood writes “I can’t think of a more inflammatory gesture than to withdraw funding”.”

    Bugger them. It’s that sort of pussy-footing around criminals that has allowed them to assume some sense of self-importance. I hope Ms.Ritchie walks the walk, rather than simply talking the talk.

  • If they don’t decommission, hopefully further government funding won’t even be ‘on the radar’.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree with all of the posts above. We’ve got no evidence that the UDA has any intention of delivering on it’s end of the initiative.

    The only people who have the authority to call for funding injections into the areas in question are the MLAs who the people living in those neighbourhoods elected to represent them. Where are they ?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: ” I can’t think of a more inflammatory gesture than to withdraw funding on a scheme that has not been given a chance to bear fruit.”

    And yet, despite its lack of accomplishments, it’s been advertised as a veritable anodyne.

    LHW: “Yet it will be Loyalist working class areas that suffer due to any withholding of funding not middle class suburbia.”

    They’re already suffering under the thumb of these hoods that you put on your shadow-plays and mummery for, Lofty. The on-going crime, the poison of drugs — or are these so commonplace that you simply consider them part of the base-line?

    LHW: “The now often used quote from Jackie McDonald is correct, decommissioning is not on the radar because that is NOT what the CTI was set up for.”

    IOW, the hoods get the money and get to retain the instruments of their criminal endeavors. If this is the case, then why spend the money, if the hoods are going to keep on being hoods?

    LHW: “It is designed to reduce crime and criminality in Loyalist areas and eliminate any need for paramilitary involvement in those areas completely.”

    Assumes there ever was a need for Loyalist paramilitaries… and aren’t unlicensed firearms illegal and, as such, their owners criminals?

    LHW: “Logic tells you that if the scheme is successful then everything and anything is theoretically possible and in fact likely if confidence is built up.”

    Ah, but it has not been successful, the Loyalist hoods unable or unwilling to rein in their own criminal endeavors. This smacks of the soft-headed notion that all that is needed to cure every social ill is “self-esteem.” The problem is that is cannot be given, yea, verily, not even from a sham of a state-sponsored boondoggle. It has to be earned through hard work, something alien to these hoods.

    LHW: “Castigate and belittle till your hearts are content but believe me when I tell you that it is Loyalists and Loyalists alone who will deliver the true peace ”

    Now you will see the Loyalist revert to type, with what is, essentially, a silkily phrased threat — we hold the guns, we have control and no peace will occurr until Loyalism’s demands have been satiated.