A drugs twist to the UDA versus the Minister stand off?

Newton Emerson makes an interesting linkage between Margaret Ritchie, the Social Development Minister, and her stand off with the UDA over a raft of funding promised by the previous Secretary of State Peter Hain and a recent tarring and feathering incident:

The Independent Monitoring Commission says the UDA is “heavily engaged” in drug dealing. South Belfast UDA ‘Brigadier’ Jackie McDonald has a conviction for extortion. This is, of course, in no way connected to any extorting effect the tarring and feathering of an alleged drug dealer in south Belfast might have on social development minister Margaret Ritchie.

He also notes an acquiescent note arising from a local quarter of the DUP:

Belfast DUP councillor Ruth Patterson told reporters that the tarring and feathering was “regrettable” but “I do understand the frustrations of that local community”. Isn’t this what Sinn Féin used to say after IRA punishment beatings? Councillor Patterson is chairperson of the south Belfast partnership board, chairperson of the south Belfast district policing partnership and chairperson of Taughmonagh community forum. So if she doesn’t think the whole thing was a UDA stunt then it must be true. Mustn’t it?

Except that as Henry McDonald noted yesterday:

‘I wouldn’t mind if they (the UDA) were genuine in wanting to rid their community of drugs,’ one veteran loyalist said yesterday. ‘But they themselves are up to their eyeballs in drugs in the south of the city. I know people from the east who come over to this power either on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning to buy their coke. Maybe the guy they claim is dealing was queering their pitch.’

Which, given the campaign against her department’s plans for the redevelopment of the Andersonstown Police Station site, must make Ritchie one of the most publicly active and beleaguered ministers in the current Executive.

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  • Rory

    “But they themselves (the UDA) are up to their eyeballs in drugs…..Maybe the guy they claim is dealing was queering their pitch in the south of the city” one veteran loyalist said yesterday.

    Sounds like an investigation by the Monopolies Commission might be in order.

  • Ginfizz

    Oh yes Newt have a wee swipe at Ruth Patterson who actually did condemn the attack on the news as opposed to Bobby Stoker – whose party you support who was issuing joint statements with the UPRG making excuses.

  • joeCanuck

    That is one ugly word – “but”

  • Comrade Stalin

    Where’s PeaceAndJustice ? He keeps saying that unionists don’t support terrorism. Here’s an elected DUP official providing political cover for vigilantism.

    Do we really want people who find vigilantism to be excusable, in charge of our police service ?

  • Follow The Money

    Well it’s not the first and it won’t be last Unionist apologia for violent Loyalism.

    The latest today published in the Irish News by Roy of Gatterland.

    Maybe I’m not amazed…

    Chiefly because self same Gatterland said that the UDA are good for a million or 30.

    And why should we frustate the good UDA at the expense of the bad UDA I mean I ask you, it’s not much to ask now is it…..?

  • Ginfizz


    She did condemn it on the news. Do keep up.

  • Follow The Money

    eh Yeeees

    GF it’s good to know…

    But I think it has the same value and impact as one of those press releases from the Militant organisation who when confronted with Loyalist vilolence make a point of saying ‘we condem *ALL* violence.’ There is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing politically significant in it as far as content and context go either.

    It seems the lads are getting a bit restless about getting people in post on free money or should that be money for very old rope.