Further meetings.. and further negotiations..

Here’s a report worth looking at in more detail, if we ever get more detail that is. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward, is reported to have announced that, following those meetings yesterday [So much for respect.. – Ed]

“The IICD has informed the government that a meeting has taken place between the IICD and the UDA at which decommissioning was discussed,” the Secretary of State said. “The Commission has confirmed that meaningful engagement and negotiations have started. Named interlocutors have been appointed and further meetings are planned.”

It comes ahead of the deadline set by the Social Development minister – on continuing funding of the project previously negotiated between the UPRG/UDA and the NIO.. Excuse my scepticism… But Delphic utterances or not, the NIO seem to have thrown the UDA, and the UPRG project, another life-line.. Forgetting, for the moment, about that “serious and organised crime linked to the activities of the UDA” Adds BBC report And With Jim Fitzpatrick “talking to” the UPRG’s Frankie Gallagher on Sunday’s Politics Show any chance of some “stupid questions”? Like, say, when do you hope to have built up enough support on the back of this publicly funded scheme to stand for election, Frankie? Final update Just a reminder that, in a previous incarnation, Shaun Woodward was forced to clarify his overly-optimistic comments about the criminal activity of another paramilitary group.. and his then-boss was compelled to intervene..

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  • Dread Cthulhu

    Woodward: “The IICD has informed the government that a meeting has taken place between the IICD and the UDA at which decommissioning was discussed,” the Secretary of State said. “The Commission has confirmed that meaningful engagement and negotiations have started. Named interlocutors have been appointed and further meetings are planned.”

    Now, translated into “normal” language…

    “The IICD has told the government that a sit-down happened between themselves and the current colletion of street-thugs currently shooting cops and setting off pipe-bombs in the street. They talked about decomissioning, since that’s all they ever do. However, being gullible wusses who believe that talking is the moral equivalent of actually accomplishing something, we have planned many more talks, since talking is so much easier than actually accomplishments. Meanwhile, whilst we are talking and not accomplishing anything, we would appreciate it if no one else accomplished anything, either, since it would make us look bad and get in the way of our talks.”

  • joeCanuck

    This is totally disgusting.
    Ms. Ritchie tries to do the right thing and she is sabotaged by a Westminster thug. That’s the only word I can come up with without being probably carded.
    I hope she has the courage to tell Woodward to F**k off and mind his own business.
    Unfortunately she appears to have no support from her so-called “partners.

  • Turgon

    joeCanuck,
    I agree entirely. The onlt caveat is that on this I would call Woodward not a thug but a spineless coward. It seems that the government has never had the political nerve to face down either republician or loyalist paramilitaries. The strategy seems to have always been to minimise problems and put off any day of reckoning. I am afraid many of us saw the danger of a fudge coming but that does not make it any less disgusting.

  • Hogan from County Tyrone

    Why is anyone surprised by this lastest move from Woodward and his NIO mandarins?

    1: The CTI was a clear bribe to the UDA to leave the field.
    2: Although the initiative was negotiated by the NIO and the UDA the former decided to devolve the matter to the DSD to give a fig-leaf veil of ‘community development’ over the dosh.

    Now this arrangement was working absolutely swimmingly when they had a Labour patsy minister who was content to be the channel for the cretans. However joy of joys we finally have someone who puts the morality of not giving money to thugs and gangsters above the ‘advice’ of the poltical puppeteers at the NIO. I’d say it came as a hell of a shock to the bast&#xrd;s!

    Now who the NIO gives our money to is their business (well we can’t stop them?) but i would suggest they do their own dirty work and next time if they want to donate to the JMcD and FG retirement fund i think they should have the decency (that’s a laugh) just to do a straight forward bank transfer.

    Hold tight Margaret, and tell Pro-consul Woodward to shove it up his hole!

  • Rubicon

    This is nothing more than obfuscation and nuisance making from the NIO. I hope Ms. Ritchie thanks Mr. Woodward for his efforts, invites him to spend more time in London (there is an election being considered after all) and gets on with the business of dealing with street thugs.

    The UDA have had their opportunity, the IICD hadn’t gone away and (even assuming it was legitimate for them to wait on IRA decommissioning) they have had ample time to have delivered decommissioning by now. They haven’t and I suggest a number of reasons are responsible – in descending order of importance:

    1. The continuance of criminal earnings is not possible without weapons; i.e., the drug dealing, prostitution and protection rackets. Without these ‘earnings’ UDA “brigadiers” become the common muck that they always were. However, the tattooed thugs are not so stupid as not to realise this.
    2. The UK Government (and the President of the Republic of Ireland) provided a rather profitable wheeze to create a political legitimacy for the UDA that was in very short supply within the communities where the UDA operate.
    3. The ability of the UDA to deliver is in serious question and is a bit like watching squabbling turkeys discuss Christmas. As soon as one gangster spends a day playing golf on the Kay course with the President’s partner – the rest are busy taking over his earnings. The UDA is not a single organisation, it is not even the mafia that can prioritise “business” – it is (and always was) a group of play ground bullies and wife-beating, drug-dealing thugs given cover by those who espoused the notion of a Protestant ascendancy.
    4. Unionism has been a fair-weather friend to these guys. Unionism once bowler hatted and marching in their abstentionist bands have tolerated, encouraged and turned a blind eye to the Loyalist crime lords that they’ve required do their bidding. There are skeletons here and the UDA know where to find them. Ergo, Ms. Ritchie is left without support in the Executive.

    Margaret Ritchie – if she isn’t sucked in to this Whitehall spin and mischief making – is likely to carry out an act that will win over support from the vast majority of law abiding people of NI. Unfortunately, that won’t make her NI’s most popular politician – too many have broken the law only then to try and exploit it for their own ends. She could however seriously damage the relationship between politics and sectarianism here.

    Stand by your guns Margaret!

  • loftholdingswood

    And so it came to pass. Political expediency as I said about 56 days ago. Margaret Ritchie will now bow to the inevitable as surely as the howls of derision will be heard from the sluggerites. She played a good game till near the end when she had an attack of nerves. The DSD and the NIO could see what Margaret singularly failed to see – CTI works and has the potential to deliver. I must congratulate the CTI staff on an impressive performance during the last two months which has seen presentations and examples of sterling work that have won the admiration of everyone who witnessed them.

    I suppose some of you were under the illusion that the scheme would be pulled and the naughty, naughty boys of Loyalism would be brought to heel. Too many of you read the ‘wisdom’ of political commentators who are as morally bankrupt as the pious middle class heroes like ‘dread cthulhu’ and his ilk who bask in the ‘knowledge’ of something they have simply no inkling of. Their computer keyboards steam with bile because deep down they truly have no control of what is happening all around them and it hurts the ego and reduces them to little more than unimportant little serfs.

    Standby for face saving ‘exclusives’ in tomorrows Sunday rags. Watch out for a statement from Ms Ritchie late next week ‘bigging up’ what she has ‘made’ the UDA do. But you know the truth don’t you?

    Engagement has taken place and I welcome that because ultimately this society will move forward. That is a good thing but it is better that the UDA be allowed to transform through CTI and at a pace that suits. But it has been an entertaining 60 days and for that we can thank all the sluggerites and assorted experts.

  • Hogan from County Tyrone

    Just read the report on the BBC NI Website about this. Can somebody please ask the beeb to excrete the NIO press offices hand from its anus?

    “Ulster Defence Association has begun steps towards disarming, NI Secretary Shaun Woodward has confirmed. ” ‘CONFIRMED’? – That’s some definative terminology!

    Why so? cos they’ve had meetings? appointed interlocutors? What happens in 2 months time when jackie & co think they can get a few extra quid? I’d say the interlocutors are pretty temporary appointments!

    “Mr Woodward’s welcome for this new development will put pressure on Ms Ritchie.” Not really.

    However what will put pressure on Margaret Ritchie is the beeb peddling this sort of pretence that Woodward has any scrap of moral authority in this argument enabling him to put pressure on anyone.

    Although it does attmept to salvage some degree of journalistic integrity when it informs the reader that the UDA have been meeting the general for 2 years.

    What exactly have they been doing for 24 months? Why do i suspect that it was pretty similar activity to ‘appointing interlocutors and planning further meetings’?

  • King Bling

    Odiously smug as only paramilitary leeches can be, LHW.

    Do bear in mind that one thing might scupper your plans for the good ship UDA-events, my dear boy, events…

  • Turgon

    loftholdingswood,
    I see you have contempt for many of us here. That is fairly explicit in your post. That is fair enough, you can hold the assorted middle class politicos in contempt if you like.

    What you do not explicitly state but implicly scream is your contempt for democracy, the democracy by which working class protestants have had the opportunity to vote for your friends and yet have rejected the opportunity so overwhelmingly and so frequently.

    You also express your contempt for the children ensnared in drugs by your friends’ drug dealing: for children; those with few prospects, made fewer by the maliase in some working class protestant communities largely (though not exclusively) caused by your paramilitary friends.

    You express contempt for those women trapped in prostitution by your friends’ actions.

    You also express your contempt for those old people unable to go out at night because of the actions of local hoods permitted by your friends.

    Yes you may well have won and your friends can keep their money, their drug dealing, prostitution and unpleasantness. The rest of Northern Ireland (including a lot of sluggerites) loose a little. It is the people in working class Protestant communities who really loose. But then when have the UDA ever cared about that? Indeed what did your UDA ever defend us from?

  • loftholdingswood

    Surely not as odiously smug as the groupies of slugger who told us all just how it would be? But I guess if you keep spinning a coin long enough you will hit ‘heads’.

    Would it please you to see plans scuppered then? in other words you would prefer a wee bit of violence to a long drawn out peace? Now how churlish is that?

  • loftholdingswood

    Turgon,

    If you can be bothered to re-read my previous posts you will see that I despise drug dealers, I despise drugs, I despise criminality in all its forms and I earnestly want to see a society that is all inclusive. I truly believe that the CTI is a vehicle for this hence my campaigning for it to continue. If I am being odious it is only because I have had to listen to/watch/observe the pious claptrap that tired dinosaur politicians/media commentators and slugger ‘experts’ have subjected us to. They to me are equally part of the problem of this sick society because they are dishonest, inward looking and devoid of imagination. They ingratiate themselves to sell a cheap story of misery and despair. They distort and ridicule yet offer no solution.

  • justthoughtidask

    I see the NIO is posting again.

  • loftholdingswood

    I see Mr Clever is posting again. Any more predictions or will you be retiring gracefully?

  • Rubicon

    Turgon – an excellent post that gives credit to your unionist view that identifies the debasement of society that is the price that this peace process has required.

    Lofty – you are too late and irrelevant. Us middle class sluggerites aren’t very happy with appeasment – not with the IRA and not with your mates. The IRA delivreed, your mates haven’t and we retain choices as to how to deal with the tail end charlies.

    Do you for one moment think that a law and order response led by Margaret Ritchie would damage her? Do you think it’d get your mates more votes?

    Fine! Let’s play it out. Meet Margaret’s deadline or engage with the instruments of this state that you pretend to defend.

    My only worry is that Margaret might back down to this Whitehall evil. I hope she doesn’t – but if so – I’ll try and find a politician to vote for that does deliver. Meanwhile your friends will have continued to deliver misery and remind their victims that their misery, their vote and their place in society doesn’t matter.

    I very much hope Margaret Ritchie doesn’t join your group. So far, she’s shown no inclination – except her statements have allowed some wriggle room. If she uses it she’ll be seen to be a pimp – a NIO pimp and a pimp prostituting the women your mates get their drinking money from.

  • Turgon

    loftholdingswood,
    You despise drug dealers. How nice, do you despise the UDA or have they never been involved in drug dealing? Or is it that you “despise” drug dealers so much that you think that giving them money to maybe stop would be reasonable.

    You despise criminality in all its forms so do you despise the UDA for all their crimes? Maybe you “despise” them so much that you think they need money to be less criminal?

    The only “solution” that the UDA “offer” is give us money and we will be less criminal.

  • Rubicon

    I know I’m not supposed to play the man but focus on the ball. Yet, this rule is a grey area that affords anonymous posters little protection. That’s fine – except that it seems to apply rigorously to the journalist profession – or those thespians enjoying a media spotlight.

    I’ll risk a card.

    Loftholdingswood – you have tried to post here on behalf of loyalist terrorists. When your mates shoot a policeman in the back you’re not to be seen. What you post here is nothing less than propaganda that seeks to excuse why working class protestant areas should have their children’s futures destroyed by drugs and why business can’t develop in those areas. Without Catholics trying to kill you you’ve lost purpose. That Catholics didn’t do that doesn’t matter – to you they did. It legitimised you and your mates committing murder on their behalf and then returning to sell their children drugs, ruin their lives and masquerade your criminality as a political campaign – that those you’ve bullied, intimidated and murdered still don’t give you and your mates cover for.

    You think middle-class sluggerites are concerned? You’re right! I can’t speak for such a large disparate group – but I can say that I want you and your mates dealt with under the law. I don’t want you provided any money and I certainly don’t want the state paying you and your mates to perform a function that leaves those who rejected you with no option but to recognise and use you as the only state apparatus put in place to deal with protestant deprivation.

    Lofty – you have nothing to offer but a very bad smell that causes most noses to curl.

    You may be right about Margaret being out manoeuvred. I’ll not excuse her on that basis – she has a job to do and your criminal mates need not be considered. If she caves in she’ll be accused of all sorts of evil – not least giving succour to gangsters destroying deprived protestant areas.

  • Pete Baker

    This isn’t directed at anyone in particular, it’s just a general reminder..

    Be blunt, by all means, but keep it civil.

    Oh, and there’s an update to the original post. I remembered that Woodward has form..

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Yes Pete, so much for respect, indeed.

    But then not everyone was gullible enough to believe that Woodward was backing Ritchie on Sept 24, which is why I suggested is statement was undermining rather than supporting her position.

    Hate to say I told ya so, but the writing’s been on the wall for a while. (See Lofty, some of us do get it right!)

    Couldn’t resist :op

  • Rubicon

    Lofty – think about this – Margaret has nothing to loose. Your mates can’t deliver.

    I’ll just leave you with a few thought’s

    The law-abiding minority in NI are pissed off. The IRA delivering rankles since justice to those murdered was sacrificed. I’m far from sure that it was worth it but IRA movement requires me allow SF a chance – not least since many, many people disagree with me, elect public representatives to work in a peaceful manner. They do and they leave unionism in shame – but improve the areas they represent. .

    You and your mates are still destroying protestant areas. You poison and corrupt their youth and intimidate those that generate business. West Belfast is doing much better than the East. Why is that?

    It is because you and your mates pretend to have a cause that goes beyond murdering Catholics, destroying business and diminishing people. Not even your own believe you.

  • Pete Baker

    Well none of us are infallible, Gonzo, nor do we claim to be.

    But the ambiguous nature of Woodward’s previous statement was why I didn’t comment directly on it in the original post – although I did in the comments zone.

    And if you look back in the archive you’ll see that, subsequently, I referred to his “apparent support”.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “The DSD and the NIO could see what Margaret singularly failed to see – CTI works and has the potential to deliver.”

    Just ask the ex-hard man and the three UPRG sock-puppets who were having their paychecks delivered. More jobz for the boyz…

    LHW: “I suppose some of you were under the illusion that the scheme would be pulled and the naughty, naughty boys of Loyalism would be brought to heel. Too many of you read the ‘wisdom’ of political commentators who are as morally bankrupt as the pious middle class heroes like ‘dread cthulhu’ and his ilk who bask in the ‘knowledge’ of something they have simply no inkling of. ”

    As opposed to accepting the words of a cheer-leader for the godfathers of the street, trying to sugar-coat the drug-dealing and extortion commited by his fellow-travellers? The CTI has been demonstrated to be just another pay-off, with a quarter of the “professionals” turning out to be the sinecures for the UDA and their sock-puppets.

    LHW: “Would it please you to see plans scuppered then? in other words you would prefer a wee bit of violence to a long drawn out peace? Now how churlish is that? ”

    Better the cockroaches be trod upon than allowed to continue to commit their crimes and deal their drugs.

    LHW: “If you can be bothered to re-read my previous posts you will see that I despise drug dealers, I despise drugs, I despise criminality in all its forms and I earnestly want to see a society that is all inclusive.”

    And, yet, you try desperately to put a smiley face over the pimps and pushers… funny thing, that.

    LHW: “I truly believe that the CTI is a vehicle for this hence my campaigning for it to continue.”

    Why, you next on the list for a sinecure, Lofty? Got dibs on Frankie’s spot?

    You’re posts on behalf of a collection of pimps, hard-men, drug-dealers and extortionists are laughable. Deriding the fact that the main body of Slugger posters willing to pointout the obvious — that the UDA are a collection of unreformed hoods and thugs. They’re reluctance to give up their arms has more to do with their desire to maintain their criminal enterprises than any real need to maintain their arsenals, whilst their recent “shows of strength” and back-shooting of police officers shows them for the cowardly thugs they are. The fact that a quarter of the CTI staff turned out to be thugs or sock-puppets demonstrates that the program is more about jobs for the boys than it is about community transformation.

  • Quids Separate Us

    Your brave UDA men are out striking a blow for Ulster’s freedom as we speak tonight, LHW-by selling cocaine and ecstacy to teenagers in loyalist areas-I’m sure you’re very proud indeed.

  • páid

    Politics is the art of the possible.

    Lofty’s in the real world.

  • Pete Baker

    Sorry, páid.

    But Lofty is an unreliable witness.

  • The Dubliner

    Lofty is probably a “reliable witness” in the sense that his expression of abject contempt for the rule of law and for ordinary citizens is true testimony among his ilk. He sees this as a victory for loyalist degenerates over decency, but it reality it is a defeat of the citizens by the same methods of amoral expediency that have underpinned the Appeasement Process, and that ordinary citizens endorsed. Will the people remember this at the next election and vote accordingly? Hardly, since this is one ‘government’ that you can’t vote out. Will the nationalists vote for the SDLP and against PSF because Richie is an SDLP member and her stance is honourable, moral, and courageous? Nope, they’ll simply resent her for even raising the issue since it draws attention to their own endorsement of the appeasement of murder gangs. Will Richie even resign if she is undermined come Tuesday? I hope so but I doubt it. The poison in the system… and all that.