Assistant Chief Constable Peter Sheridan told the Policing Board yesterday there is “no prospect of early decommissioning” by the UDA. With Social Development Minister Margaret already cutting into under untilised community budgets in Loyalist areas, it looks like she may be preparing the ground for cutting the planned £1.2 million once destined for the UDA. As Pete reported earlier, the price (as it often is in such circumstances) is one of a decidedly indeterminate nature:
“Whenever they’re afforded all the luxuries that Sinn Féin and the IRA were afforded, and they’re given some of the things that the IRA got, then perhaps it could be at the horizon but it’s not on the radar at the minute.”
Much rides on this stand off for a minister, left largely on her own by her Executive colleagues. But there is a view in some quarters that the UDA is not simply overplaying its hand, but playing it too late to profit from a protracted negotiation on this or, indeed, any future funding.