UDA’s cash for old guns deal…

David Ervine always argued that Loyalist violence was essentially reactive to the IRA’s campaign. Well there are probably more that a few Catholic relatives of the victims down through the years wondering what they did that warrented the violence meted out to their loved ones. But if that basic political premise is true, many current member must be wondering why they are still being asked to pay their dues given the IRA has finally gone away. Lindy McDowell is also puzzled as to why a Stormont minister is offered her own reasons as to why it might be necessary:

“I am deeply concerned about this. I inherited it – I wouldn’t have done it,” she [Minister Ritchie] said yesterday (Monday). All she can do is to scrutinise the contract and, if she can’t find a legal loophole, insist on a rigorous process of evaluation.

She said she is currently consulting the PSNI, the Community Relations Council, the Independent Monitoring Commission and Farset, the organisation which has undertaken the weaning, and that she will bring her findings to the executive.

Yes, the UDA must transform. We don’t need a band of paramilitary killers and we could do without drug dealing, pimping and extortion too. It is safe to say that the UDA will make far more than £1.2 million on these activities over the next three years. It won’t willingly hand over its guns to save this project.

In the world of community development, decent pay and three-year contracts are rare, even for highly skilled, well-trained staff who have given years of committed service. They work for low pay on short-term contracts within communities ruined by decades of conflict and gangsterism. Why should the UDA have it both ways?

  • Paul O

    Aye Davy, sure the Shankill Butchers were simply reacting to others. That makes it understandable.

  • Cato

    Is it possible that one of the reasons behind this reluctance is the potential embarrassment for loyalists when the inventory of their weapons is held up alongside the arsenal decommissioned by the IRA?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Cato: “Is it possible that one of the reasons behind this reluctance is the potential embarrassment for loyalists when the inventory of their weapons is held up alongside the arsenal decommissioned by the IRA? ”

    Too many pistols and not enough long arms?

  • Maggot

    “many current member must be wondering why they are still being asked to pay their dues given the IRA has finally gone away.”

    The provos may, to all intents and purposes, have gone away (even if the IMC think they did keep some weaponry) but CIRA and RIRA are still armed.

    That’s not an attempt by me to justify Loyalist crimes, just addressing a weakness in an argument.

  • Cato

    DC

    I think it is a serious issue for loyalists. There’s no doubt that the inventory will be leaked and it is possible that when help up alongside IRA decommissioning, it’ll further damage the confidence of the loyalist community.

    Maggot

    Everyone recognises by now that IRA decommissioning was not about removing the threat but about creating a gesture to unionism that the war was over.
    The Bishopsgate bomb in London in 1992 caused £650 million worth of damage, more than every other bomb which had exploded across Britain and Ireland in the 25 years previous to that. As far as I know, it was made out of fertiliser in South Armagh and a bomb like that could be made again very easily.
    Loyalists need to decommission to show their good faith in a similar manner. As for CIRA and RIRA, every society has criminals within it and it is incumbent on Sinn Fein to condemn them as such and on the UVF and UDA to allow the PSNI and Garda Siochana to deal with them.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Cato: “I think it is a serious issue for loyalists. There’s no doubt that the inventory will be leaked and it is possible that when help up alongside IRA decommissioning, it’ll further damage the confidence of the loyalist community. ”

    LOL… gun envy. Swell…

  • Maggot

    Cato – I wasn’t arguing that loyalists should hang onto their guns – just pointing out that IRA does not just mean provos – and reminding people that the IMC think that the provos still do have some guns.

    As for good faith – let’s get real – the Provos did NOT do their big decommissioning as a gesture of good faith – there was a carrot – concessions – and stick – international and domestic pressure – aproach used to FORCE them to decommission.
    So it’s naive to think that loyalists will decommission as an act of goodwill – they too will have to be FORCED to decommission.

  • Cato

    Maggot

    Yes, they may have been forced to do so but only as a gesture of their commitment to the completion of the process, not as a means to removing the threat.
    As home-made bombs show, the threat is always potentially there. It’s the decommissioning of the intention which is necessary and the decommissioning of the weapons was merely symbolic of that.
    I support loyalist decommissioning too but I’m worried that there is no means of forcing them. With the republican movement, you could say ‘no guns, no devolution’.
    Aside from offering them cash, which given the amount of racketeering they are involved in they probably don’t need, and which is unpalatably close to bribery anyway, what can the NIO or elected representatives threaten to take away from them?
    I think if it is not done voluntarily soon, there may come a day when the security forces take a strong arm approach. Given that they probably know where a lot of these guns are through intelligence, and they have shown that they are not adverse to rocking the applecart by arresting Brian Arthurs, that should maybe happen sooner rather than later.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Cato: “I support loyalist decommissioning too but I’m worried that there is no means of forcing them.”

    Sure there is… but it would take the spine to deal with a bit of a mess and stomach to deal with some fallout. Treat them like the hoods they are, arrest them and drop them in the clink, politics be damned. Arrest their drug dealers and thugs, confiscate their ill-gotten gains and, after a few weeks, ask them if they’ve had enough. If their answer is “no,” then lather, rinse and repeat.

  • francesco

    bloody hell, you took the words right out of me mouth, no surrender to those criminals, time to move on!

  • Maggot

    “Sure there is… but it would take the spine to deal with a bit of a mess and stomach to deal with some fallout. Treat them like the hoods they are, arrest them and drop them in the clink, politics be damned. Arrest their drug dealers and thugs, confiscate their ill-gotten gains and, after a few weeks, ask them if they’ve had enough. If their answer is “no,” then lather, rinse and repeat.”

    Amen to that – and why not send their prisoners back where they belong ? Jail.

  • Ian

    If loyalists were smart they’d be saying to General de Chastelain, “We will decommission our arms using precisely the same methodology that the IRA used to decommission theirs.” That way de Chastelain, if he wants to achieve loyalist decommissioning, would be forced to reveal at least part of the detail surrounding the IRA’s decommissioning process, which hitherto has reamined shrouded in secrecy arousing suspicion amongst unionists. Thus loyalists would be in some way contributing to confidence in the Unionist community, which at this stage is about the best they can hope to achieve other than increasingly widespread opprobrium.

    On a related note, in the inquest into a loyalist killing in 2001, Detective Chief Inspector Frankie Taylor told Belfast Coroner’s Court [BBC report]:

    “It would be my assessment that the Red Hand Defenders were involved. They would have had support from the mainstream UVF.”

    Either the “UVF” is a typo and should read “UFF”, or the DCI quoted is confusing the Red Hand Defenders with the Red Hand Commando, surely?

  • Ian

    Should read “…has remained shrouded in secrecy, arousing suspicion…”

  • Maggot

    “If loyalists were smart ”

    LOL!

  • the Emerald Pimpernel

    Wo here would argue that the UDA terrorists should not be allowed to decomision there weapons in the same manner as the IRA?

    ?

    ?

    Just as I thought …. no one. SF has never insisted on the sack clothe and ashes paisley bellowed for!

    Just get rid of the smegging guns

  • Yes, let’s have more invisible decommissioning, that’s the way forward.

    I have a question for Margaret Ritchie however; She rightly questions why the UDA should get so much a a penny. I agree. I wouldn’t give them a farthing. But on the other hand, IRA/Sinn Fein have been given the keys to High Office and untold millions (26.5 for starters) and can anyone list what they decommissioned, where it is, in what way it was decommissioned? So, if our Margaret was consistent, she would be demanding that the IRA were excluded from Government until their alleged decommissioning is visible to us all.

  • the Emerald Pimpernel

    As usual david your propensity for lies and have truths has come to the fore

    SF was elected to power they were not given it

    IRA/SF has never existed

    what 26.5?

    And the independant witnesses and Jean De Cahastelaine can and will list exactly what has been decomisioned as soon as the loyal terrorists do their own decomisioning. that is and always has been the agreement. If you want to see the list get your terrorist friends to decomision as well

    IRA is not now nor have they ever been in government anywhere in NI unlike the UDA and UVF who the so called decent people whole heartedly elected

  • Cato

    Ian

    No – this murder in Antrim is actually said to have involved Red Hand Defenders i.e. UDA collaborating with the UVF.

  • Ian

    David Vance:

    “Yes, let’s have more invisible decommissioning, that’s the way forward.”

    David, you missed my point. After the decommissioning takes place, the UDA personnel who were present would be able to report to the wider community what exactly the methodology was, a detail which de Chastelain has refused to make public because he feels bound by an agreement not to break the confidence of the IRA.

    Your follow-up paragraph suggests you would like to know this information, in order to engender Unionist trust in Republican intentions – this is a way for the UDA to extract such detail from de Chastelain.

    If the UDA rank-and-file are asking “What are we going to get for giving up our guns?” then this a far more honourable deal. Rather than being widely perceived as demanding a shabby pay-out from the tax-payer, they could decommission in return for a vital piece of information that would be of benefit to the Unionist community, and might otherwise remain hideen in perpetuity.

    (It’s not clear that the methodology will be released even if loyalists fully decommission and a full inventory of the IRA’s “beyond-use” weaponry is published by the IIRC. Thus you will always get some sceptics saying, “well they were probably sealed in a concrete box which could be broken into in future”.)

  • Ian

    Should be “hidden in perpetuity”

    “hideen” sounds like a top-secret shebeen.