“Decommissioning is the responsibility of two sovereign governments..”

The UPRG’s Frankie Gallagher protests, in the Sunday Life, that “This [loyalist] community now wants, and needs, to move on. But move on as equals, with equal opportunity and treatment, where they can shape and build – in Assembly terms – a ‘shared future’.” Perhaps he wasn’t expecting the recent intervention from another quarter. But the problem with Frankie’s argument is that we already know whose “opportunity and treatment” the UDA want equality with. And, as well as forgetting that progress towards an end to the UDA’s criminal and paramilitary activity was directly linked to the UPRG’s project from the beginning, he neglects to mention some of those who are to benefit personally, and potentially politically, from the funding. Meanwhile, last night’s pipe-bomb attack at a house belonging to a member of the Beyond Conflict group, which is linked to the breakaway South-East Antrim UDA, looks likely to be blamed on the “good guys in Carrickfergus”.Other reports point to two arrests after police moved into the area.

The final line of Frankie Gallagher’s article is worth considering too.

Decommissioning is the responsibility of two sovereign governments and the mechanism to achieve this lies in the Belfast Agreement.

Not for the invocation of the Belfast Agreement, but for the implicit appeal to the “two sovereign governments”.

That the ‘good’ UDA have been feted by both governments for some time is clear [The Process™ continues.. – Ed]. As was the question of whether this was the right approach to take..

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  • Ian

    When the IRA were coming up against a similar deadline a compromise was reached whereby weaponry was put “beyond reach” but not “beyond use”, under the observance of two international observers (Cyril and the Fin).

    The rank-and-file could be satisfied that the IRA had not bowed to Trimble’s decommissioning deadline, but the wider community could be confident that the weaponry could not be accessed and used without the international observers finding out about it and reporting accordingly.

    Thus a supposedly insuperable deadline was leapfrogged and the peace process managed to shuffle along. Of course the weapons under international supervision eventually went on to be fully “put beyond use”.

    Could a similar fudge be concocted in the current circumstances to deal with the UDA’s weaponry?

  • Lorraine

    a fudge won’t work for the uda. things have moved too far along to allow an organisation wedded to criminality to posture as BIG PLAYERS: its time for Frankie and the lads to wake up and smell the coffee – they DON’T have the clout the IRA had in bargaining terms and they certainly don’t have a support base in the communities they blight.

  • Turgon

    “Could a similar fudge be concocted in the current circumstances to deal with the UDA’s weaponry”

    I suspect it could be and I fear it might. It could be that this time Ritchie will, however, stand her ground. I do hope she does and after what is the probably inevitable blacklash from the UDA there will be attempts to stop them rather than appease them.

    I think the reality is that the time is long, long past to face the UDA down. There is undoubted social need in working class loyalist areas (as there is in nationalist areas) but the money needs to be channeled into real community activities and groups and not to the UDA for them to “help” “their” communities. The view working class loyalist communities hold of the paramilitaries seems pretty clear to everyone except the UDA and the sooner this is recognised by all levels of officaldom the better.

  • dontunderstand

    Can someone please explain, in simple terms, why ritchie has not announced today – TODAY – that the funding will stop immediately. Pipe bombs and street standoffs ? what more does she need? Is a deal being struck or what?

  • Dawkins

    dontunderstand,

    This is Northern Ireland, where positive change moves at a snail’s pace. Remember automatic 50% remission? Bet that won’t happen today either.

    I join with Turgon in urging Margaret to stand her ground on this one.

    “Decommissioning is the responsibility of two sovereign governments,” declares Frankie Gallagher. As if they’re the ones holding the illegal weapons. I blame the two governments for irresponsibility by treating this gang of street criminals as community leaders.

  • justthoughtidask

    Someone should tell Frankie that when you paint yourself into a corner it isn’t possible to paint your way out again. Calling for more time for loyalists to come to terms with the peace process? Well, I suppose it is only 13 years since the ceasefires after all.

    Well done Frankie and his mates, ego and the scent of a few pounds were enough carrot, now it’s coming up to stick time.
    Let’s hope the PSNI are let loose on the lot of them, both the “good” UDA and the “bad” after October 9.

  • Dawkins

    Erratum: I meant of course automatic 50% remission won’t end today.

  • Dawkins

    justthoughtidask,

    “Let’s hope the PSNI are let loose on the lot of them…”

    We can but hope. But is that realistic? You yourself reminded us that it’s only 13 years since the ceasefires. Like I said, good things move at a glacial pace in NI.

  • Danny

    The stark reality is that the UDA is a fragmented and heavily localised organisation, partially modelled on the cell structure adopted by the IRA during the troubles. This cell structure is more to do with tribal turf wars than any military strategy.
    Instead of cells based on tactical teams (or ASU’s) they are modelled on where the painted curbs end in the local estate.

    The current power struggle, currently manifesting itself in Carrick, is not one of ideologies or military strategy. It is one of local council estate warlords facing the prospect of relinquishing guns, drugs and local “respect” from the community. The current trouble, if it were to occur 5 or 10 years ago, would simply be a full blown feud. The problems are criminal, not political.

    A paramilitary organisation realising it is redundant in a world it does not want to understand is a delicate thing. The social issues will take years to address.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Anyone heard of any ‘activity’ tonight? There’s a lot of rumour going around…

  • joey-d

    Anyone heard of any ‘activity’ tonight? There’s a lot of rumour going around…

    I hear the paki was shot at? dont know if it true or not

  • Turgon

    The only remotely interesting thing from Gallagher is the comment about the ” two sovereign governments”. Leaving aside the blatant hypocrisy of the UDA appealing to the Irish government to “rescue” them; this remark belies an expectation that the governments may be more sympathetic to the UDA’s “plight” than Ritchie. Of course this has, I suppose a history of at least seeming to be the case; stretching back, in the UDA’s case to Mowlam’s trip to the Maze etc.

    I sincerely hope that the Secretary of State takes the first possible opportunity to publicly disabuse the UDA of any such notions.

  • Northsider

    Danny is spot on – this is a criminal conspiracy that requires a security – not political response – despite the best efforts of Frankie Gallagher (who I believe is genuine) et al.

    I live close to a loyalist estate in north-west Belfast, a friend from there – who I drink with occasionally – told me last week that nothing would give the people in his area greater satisfaction than seeing these people “taken out by the root.”

    He is a unionist through and through – and is despairing of the silence from local councillors to this problem. He thinks they are afraid. He has no faith in his local MP to deal with this, although he does say this person is very good on other social issues. He believes there is genuine fear there as well, not for the MPs personal safety, but because the political class fear any action against these gangsters could make a bad situation worse.

    For example, the stand-off and disorder in Bangor recently.

    During the troubles I had no doubt that unionist politicians were largely silent on loyalist terrorist violence because of their ‘links’ with these groups or because they firmly believed these groupings were the insurance policy against more extreme IRA violence or constitutional change.

    That was then, and this is now. I genuinely think that this silence, as outlined above, is derived from fear.

    Therefore, it is up to the security services to devise a strategy aimed at removing these people from our society. They’ve now become – in the word of my pal – a greater threat to the confidence, well-being and development of working class unionist communities than the IRA ever were.

  • Northsider

    Who is ‘the paki’? I’ve heard tonight that shots have been fired…

  • The UDA do not deserve ONE PENNY and it is a disgrace that they continue to be indulged, but please remember that a political process which pivots on appeasing terrorists is always likely to experience more of the same.

  • Watch my back.

    One of the brothers,I think he is out on bail, I heard he was dispatched to the next world. ( NOT CONFIRMED )

  • joey-d

    Who is ‘the paki’? I’ve heard tonight that shots have been fired…

    sorry not paki but egyptian =Shoukri

  • joey-d

    watch my back

    ive been told the same as you,but theres nothing on the news about it,time will tell.

  • Watch my back.

    I have just been told that it is a load of cr*p, we shall just have to wait untill the morning.Nite Nite.

  • Turgon

    Northsider,
    I find the comments about the political classes fearing making the situtation worse interesting. Even if not correct they have a certain logic.

    I suspect the UDA have endeavoured to create such a situtation quite carefully. They have tried to prevent any sort of showdown by being “not too bad” and vaguely promising to “get better”.

    The calculation that must be made then is two fold. Firstly is such a strategy of letting them do their own thing morally acceptable. That is actually quite straight forward and the answer is of course no.

    The second question is whether or not having these people “taken out by the root.” will cause more suffering, violence and criminality than allowing them to continue. Again I think the answer is pretty clear that short term violence is less bad than continuing the current situtation. It is like having a cancer. No one wants an operation but if that is the only possible cure.

    Hence, both the moral and pratical answers seem pretty clear. The question is will Ritchie or the government fall at the final hurdle.

    David Vance,
    I of course agree entirely with your take on this. It is though pleasing that at last at least one group of criminals may be being treated in an appropriate manner ie given nothing at all.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Doesn’t appear that Ihab was shot after all…

  • Aquifer

    Northsider you are correct. Unionist councillors are scared of these guys and it looks like it goes right up through the unionist parties. Otherwise how come an SDLP social development minister is in the front line?

    The law exists to deal with these gangsters and should be applied.

    The biggest most respected gang in town has to be the police. We have some comeback with them.

    These UFFUDA bully boys pushers pimps and extortionists are past their sell by date and should be binned.

  • The Penguin

    Is there any chance that those using blatantly racist terminology could pack it in please.

  • Danny

    The problem with “taking out at the root” is the quieter estates where less flamboyant commanders flex their overworked biceps.

    The UDA still holds clout in many Loyalist working class communities and in many cases are supported by the community, not to be underestimated.

    In saying that the majority of the population in these communities would gladly see the back of the gangsters.

  • Dawkins

    The Penguin,

    “Is there any chance that those using blatantly racist terminology could pack it in please.”

    It’s a little tedious isn’t it? So awfully ignorant too. The poor dears don’t appreciate that the difference between an Egyptian and a “Paki” is at least 2000 miles — roughly the distance between London and Cairo.

    Er…

  • Pounder

    Frankly it’s a fecking disgrace that these animals are still walking the streets much less demanding that the goverments bail them out of a cul-de-sec that they themselves forced themselves into through cockyness and arrogance. They hold the weapons they are the only ones who can hand them over for de-comissioning. I used to hold Frankie Gallagher in high esteem, despite disagreeing with nearly everyone of his views he seemed genuine, now I’m not so sure. He still insists he’s speaking for all the loyalist people, I don’t think so, if they wanted the UPRG to speak for them they’d bloody well vote for them in council and stormont elections.

  • mchinadog

    Pounder

    I agree with you 100% the UDA/URPG do not speak for the loyalist people of Northern Ireland if they did they would be in control in the big White House but they are conspicuous by their absence. The loyalist /unionist population want these people out of their areas and from off their backs and the sooner Minister Ritchie pulls the plug on this funding to what ever organistaion is supposed to be delivering CTI the sooner the UDA/URPG will realise that Santa only comes at Christmas time.

    Why this money can’t be channeled through reputable community groups across Northern Ireland who can insure that it goes to the people for betterment of their community and not to any organization leaves me concerned as to what the motive was in giving the money in the first place to the URPG albeit it is through Farset.

  • Dublin Exile

    mchinadog –
    Your suggestion that FARSET is anything other than a ‘reputable community group’ is a disgrace and shows your own ignorance up rather than anything else.

    On the substantive issue, pulling the plug on the CTI is in effect punishing those within loyalism who want to change and move on, allowing the criminal element to say ‘I told you so!’

    The CTI is setting out to change loyalism and empower loyalist communities – if it fails ask yourself ‘Who benefits?’

    I would argue that those most at risk from a changed loyalism are the political establishment in the DUP and UUP, and they are over the moon about the fact that the SDLP are about to do their dirty work for them by stifling the attempt by Gallagher and others to move loyalism in a more community development and political direction.

    Empowering, educating, and developing loyalist communities is not a threat to nationalism, its a threat to the unionist establishment.

  • mchinadog

    Dublin Exile

    If you had of read my piece correctly I was not degrading the name of Farset nor have I any reason to do so.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dublin Exile: “On the substantive issue, pulling the plug on the CTI is in effect punishing those within loyalism who want to change and move on, allowing the criminal element to say ‘I told you so!’ ”

    Actually, the “I told you so” dropped earlier, when it was revealed that one of the hard-men and three of the UPRG sock-puppets were on staff at the CTI — “jobs for the boys” sinecures.

    DublinExile: “I would argue that those most at risk from a changed loyalism are the political establishment in the DUP and UUP, and they are over the moon about the fact that the SDLP are about to do their dirty work for them by stifling the attempt by Gallagher and others to move loyalism in a more community development and political direction. ”

    And yet, both the “good” UDA and the “bad” UDA feel the need to blast and bomb their way about the town, DE. Instead of change, the same ol’ same ol’. A quarter of the CTI hard-men or sock-puppets — and that’s just at first blush — the obvious muppets.

    Makes a body miss Dictionary Dave, rest his soul… and me not a fan of him or his dog.

  • Twelve Monkeys

    Did the UVF ever receive millions for winding down?

  • Sean

    Did the UVF ever wind down

  • Twelve Monkeys

    Well compared to these monkeys in the UDA but did they ever receive monies and if not why should the UDA?

  • Sean

    Comparing them to the UDA is hardly setting the bar very high

  • Pounder

    [i]Did the UVF ever wind down

    Posted by Sean on Sep 24, 2007 @ 09:10 PM
    [/i]

    I’m pretty sure they haven’t shot anyone recently, maybe one of our illustrious PUP supporters (if we have any) could confirm this.