Taoiseach’s office funding new mural in Mount Vernon

A couple of details stand out from Henry McDonald’s report in today’s Observer. The first, and most obvious, is that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has approved a grant of “€4,000 for a piece of artwork to commemorate the link between the 16th Irish and the 36th Ulster Divisions” in Mount Vernon. The spokesman for the Department of the Taoiseach said “The aim of the fund is to assist and encourage the development of local organisations”. The ‘community’ organisation involved is headed by former UVF prisoner and ex-councillor Billy Hutchinson. However there is already an existing fund of £3.3million, set up last year by the NIO, for such projects.The second detail is the report of a meeting on July 10th between a Department of Foreign Affairs official, Aine de Baroid – who was reported to have been under threat from elements within the UDA last year – with the leadership of that illegal organisation.. that would be this leadership of that illegal organisation.

According to the report

The Observer can also reveal that an official of the Republic’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Aine de Baroid, who was subjected to a loyalist death threat, met the UDA on Belfast’s Shankill Road this month. The groundbreaking meeting took place at a community centre near the Lower Shankill, heartland of exiled loyalist boss Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair.

Loyalist sources said it was held on 10 July to discuss how the Irish government could revive loyalist working-class areas. The two sides also talked about the loyalist marching which turned out to be one of the most peaceful in decades.

Several UDA commanders from west and north Belfast attended the discussion with Irish officials including De Baroid. She has engaged with the UDA leadership for several years but was subject to a death threat from extremists. This time, however, members of the illegal organisation stood guard outside the community house on the Shankill Road to ensure her safety.

UDA leaders including overall commander Jackie McDonald have a strong relationship with De Baroid and her team. However the UDA is still riven by factionalism which threatens to erupt into violence. The mainstream UDA is in conflict with the south-east Antrim brigade which refuses to recognise McDonald’s leadership.

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  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m really confused. Loyalists encouraging Dublin interference in their affairs ?

  • TAFKABO

    I’m really confused. Loyalists encouraging Dublin interference in their affairs ?

    No more confusing that Republicans accepting British cash when it suits. Remeber the gurning at the daily provo not being given cash?.
    Rather than take a sideswipe, why not feel positive about how we can share some of our history, as opposed to it always being a cause for division?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Rather than take a sideswipe, why not feel positive about how we can share some of our history, as opposed to it always being a cause for division?

    I’m not the one dividing people. The ones who murdered people over political principles, who are now jettisoning those same principles for cash, are. I’m completely opposed to the buy-off of unelected paramilitaries.

  • Garibaldy

    CS,

    Does that mean you support the buying off of elected paramilitaries?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Garibaldy, not quite. When they’ve got a mandate, things get a lot more complicated.

  • Garibaldy

    It certainly does

  • mmmmmmmm

    hardly a buy off….the sunday world covered the story too and insisted on calling it a ‘bung’ which it doesnt seem to be….£2000 to be used specifically for removing a parailitary mural and replacing it with a war memorial to those from both sides of the border (hence the ROI money).

    I say good luck to Billy Hutchinson, he has gone from politician…thankless job slated at every opportunity to quietly working behind the scenes….the sunday world article seemed to suggest he and the community group were making real inroads in improving Mt Vernon which is no easy job….given the sunday world’s approach to loyalism in general and specifically towards Mt Vernon if they could have written a negative article they would have…..which to me means really positive change.