UPRG project’s funding withdrawn

As anticipated. In the Assembly the NI Executive’s Social Development minister, Margaret Ritchie, has just announced the withdrawal of funding for the UPRG’s CTI project describing the project as “risk-prone from the start”. [Adds The minister’s statement can be viewed here (RealPlayer file)] Update Finance minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, has just accused stated that [he believed] Margaret Ritchie had gone against the legal advice to the Executive, and was therefore in breach of the ministerial code of conduct, in making the announcement and the Speaker has suspended the sitting. Meanwhile in the BBC studio, SF’s Martina Anderson said that the Social Development minister “should have been more measured” and criticised the minister for not seeking “collective responsibility” from her Executive colleagues. A BBC report on the minister’s statement here. Further report here. Back in the chamber. The Speaker has quoted the head of civil service [Nigel Hamilton] as having “serious concerns” about the legality of the announcement, and he also referred to conversations with other members of the Executive who had similar serious concerns, but the Finance minister’s point of order is not accepted. During questions, Sinn Féin seem to be focused on critising the minister for continuing to fund the project after devolution – Although Jim Gibney didn’t agree with that criticism. Along with her own party members, the Alliance party has been the most vocal in support of the decision while the DUP are focusing on questioning the legality of the decision and the legal advice she was given – which is described as “privileged information” by the minister. The minister also responded to repeated questioning by SF – “I will not be funding the UDA now or in the future.” More below the foldUpdate Full statement from the Social Development minister via the SDLP website.

And now on the Executive’s website

More This clip from the BBC’s Stormont Live coverage caught the end of the statement, the point of order, and some of the subsequent in-studio conversation as noted above.

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  • Rapunsel

    I can’t imagine that a copy of the contract would be that hard to get hold of?

    Perhaps some of our more investigative posters can get it from Farset or directly from DSD under FOI.

    I for one can’t imagine that Margaret Ritchie would be so stupid to take a decision that cannot be defended although anything might be possible at a judicial review.

    Although I am no lawyer I have drafted funding contracts in the past ( subsequently aapproved by lawyers), typically the allocation of funds is the gift of the grantor and the conditions in the contract mean that funding can be stopped for the most minor of infringements

  • Pete Baker

    Tkmaxx

    The SDLP fronting a demand for an Irish Language Act at Westminster would be political suicide.

    See previous post on the Sewel Convention.

    Or Mark Devenport’s take on it.

  • joeCanuck

    Tensions at the heart of government have been laid bare

    As they needed to be. We have set up an almost impossible system of government.
    This is their first real test and, by his action today, Robinson either wants to bring it down or else to drive the SDLP out, so that Ian (or in a little while, himself)and Gerry can rule the roost.

  • Dewi

    “The SDLP fronting a demand for an Irish Language Act at Westminster would be political suicide. ”

    Nonsense. But you know best obviously.

  • Outsider

    Good decision but it would have been interesting if the shoe was on the other foot and it was IRA funding would she have made the same decision?

  • Outsider-

    “Good decision but it would have been interesting if the shoe was on the other foot and it was IRA funding would she have made the same decision?”

    Yes.

  • joeCanuck

    Any other useful, totally theoretical, impossible to answer, questions for us, Outsider?

  • joeCanuck

    If Robinson is hinting that, under the Code, this was a “significant or controversial” decision and should have been one for the whole Executive, where does that leave the McSweeney funding issue. Hardly non-controversial.

  • Sean

    Cervantes

    I think regardless of how the court case comes out it will always end up arrogant bastard 0 silly bitch 1

    People wont blame her if the decision is reversed people will only remember for atleast 1 day somewhere in the nIreland government some body had balls, even if they were under a skirt

  • Outsider

    The SDLPs opposition to the IRA has always been at best rather muffled, they were happy to share power with Sinn Fein without any decomissioning occuring.

  • iluvni

    Good decision Margaret Richie.
    When you taking over from Durkan?

  • Sean

    trust the terrorist apologists to try and turn this into a thread about the IRA

  • joeCanuck

    Disagree Outsider. I am not nor ever was a member of any party, but I clearly recollect a consistent opposition to any paramilitarism from the SDLP.

  • Outsider

    Sean

    I said this was the right decision by Richie but its unlikely she would have made it if it was funding to directed towards the ira.

    Secondly you are the only terrorist apologist arounfd here, some of your posts are a disgrace.

  • Tkmaxx

    Rapunsel
    A couple of things if you are an employer(and I am) you have a duty of care. That means any threat to the future of employees jobs- ie loss of jobs through loss funding or loss of contract means you put them on protective notice. Thats basic – even if you think it may not happen. It appears that may not have happened at Farset -despite the fact that the possibilty of job losses was more than obvious. Why not? What made Farset feel so secure? It cant have been their sponsoring Minister’s resolve. Secondly, if I was in the same situation and lost a contract and people employed were dependent on that contract – I have a duty to second guess if I can secure new business or get a reprieve on existing contracts. Either way my duty of care still requires a protective notice. Farset does not appear to examined either possibilty. What if other projects could have been found in those same targetted areas not connected with outcomes involving a reduction paramilitary activity, criminality or violence? people need to look at this in its totality and in the context of Hanson’s Statement at the time which accompanied the contract. Look to atthe reactions of Sammy Wilson and John Dallat and subsequently the statements of Paul Goggins – Shaun Woodward -Gregory Campbell -Orde- David Forde etc. Even Frankie Gallagher. Everyone was in no doubt this was a UDA sop. If not why was the organisation who advises the UDA politically involved at all? and why did everyone else make reference to the UDA. The context was clear. Go to court – lets see the underbelly of Government. Lets go for discovery across every representation. This is not single party government and God forbid it ever should be. Parties may hold more seats than one another but in our system they dont have more power. Thats NI for you. Take it or leave it.

  • Outsider

    Joe Canuck

    In ‘Northern Protestants an unsettled people’ it reports that SDLP members wore black arm bands on numerous occasions when ira terrorists had been killed.

  • joeCanuck

    Tkmaxx,
    I clearly remember the Minister, at the start of the 60 days, giving instruction that the employees should be put on notice and that any necessary arrangements be made should the funding stop.

  • joeCanuck

    Outsider,
    I don’t think any response to your 12.00 AM third hand post is necessary.
    It speaks for itself.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Outsider, if you look at SDLP policy it has been consistently about opposition to violence. In taking PSF in from the cold (a group with a mandate, actually supported by a considerable amount of the population and without which a political settlement was impossible) PSF were forced to accept the concept of non-violent, parliamentary politics if they were to get anywhere. If the SDLP had been taking the DUP line in refusing to share power then the PIRA would never have decommissioned because it would never have been in their interest to do so. Working with PSF was a means to an end and that end has been achieved now.
    The UPRG/UDA issue is different because they have no real support and the governance of NI does not hinge on them in any way therefore the means have to be completely different. Consider that before criticising the SDLP for being ‘soft’ on PSF/IRA, if they had adopted the hardline approach like the other parties then it is unlikely we should have decommissioning or powersharing today.
    A point little mentioned here is the SDLP proposal to have a legally binding clause included in the GFA regarding the decommissioning of weapons which was opposed by, yes, the DUP because powersharing at that time was not politically beneficial to them and they had, and have, no real committment to its principles anyway. The DUP waited until Trimble took the flak, played the waiting game and stoked up Unionist fears then reaped the electoral benefits.

  • Outsider-

    “The SDLPs opposition to the IRA has always been at best rather muffled, they were happy to share power with Sinn Fein without any decomissioning occuring.”

    Rubbish. Look at what happened Gerry Fitt when he opposed the provos. Look at what happened John Fee when he opposed the provos. The SDLP has always been prepared to criticise the IRA and SF and take the consequences. It loathed the violent actions of the provisional movement. Even in such trivial forums such as Slugger, do people like myself strike you as provo fans?

  • Outsider

    El Matador

    The answer to your question is a resounding YES.

  • Sean

    Outsider I would say the pot kettle thing but its not appropo you apparently support the still violent actions of a thinly disguised gang of thugs who no longer satisfied with what they could steal from the citizenry moved on and tried running protection rackets on the government.

    I have a new found respect for atleast some in the SDLP but i wait to see if her own party backs her up or will we see the weasel words start from them as well

    I was dissapointed in the reaction of SF but really their actions do not equate with those of the DUP. Maybe the UUP but even then they should have aspired to more

  • Sean

    el mat everyone who doesnt slouch around Ballymena selling heroin to kids strikes them as a provo suporter

  • Frank Sinistra

    So that’s an extra £1million for her to spend.

    Any chance of any of this shower actually doing a bit of legislating and improving lives rather than the amateur dramatics?

    Any legislation passed on that hill yet?

    A few fines and a couple of unemployed loyalists is the sum total of Ritchie’s contribution. And she’s lauded as the successful minister?

    Like the rest of them she’s done sweet FA of any value. The UDA is still there and I ain’t seen any social developing going on.

    Like the rest of them she’s just pissing about fighting the same old battle. Waste of space the lot of them.

  • sms

    the crucial question for me is whether the Ministers decision will hasten UDA decommissioning or not since that seems to have been the point of the whole exercise in the first place.Its all very well getting cheered from the sidelines in a headbutting competition but if you don’t achieve your objective you only end up with a sore head

  • Outsider

    Sean your are so blinded by your left wing Republican ethos that you are starting to see things that don’t exist.

    Where is my posts have I supported paramilitaries.

    Secondly I am not from Ballymena, you will be pleased to know that where I am from is dominated by Republicanism.

  • Sean

    Outsider
    You are seeing facts not in evidence or in truth facts.

    I am a republican but a Canadian one

    And I am not left wint like most people the older i get and the more I aquire the further right I bend. But I am no right wingnut either I am centre of the road the whole way

    I can see the need for social programs but I believe they should be subsistence programs. If you are on the dole then you should be getting squeezed and not have the good things in life. You work for those things or atleast I do!

  • joeCanuck

    OK Frank,
    I bow to your superior wisdom.
    Margaret Ritchie is a total failure because she didn’t achieve total UDA decommissioning in 60 days.
    What a joke as a minister she is.

  • Peter Brown

    I am delighted that the so called loyalist (sic) paramilitaries will not be getting their money though one suspects the UDA / UPRG CTI employess will not necessarily be heading to the nearest SSA to sign on just yet.

    I am as disappointed as I was delighted about the reaction of the DUP – even if it was unlawful there was no need to ambush Margaret on the floor of the house and do the UDA’s dirty work for it.

    The one unsurprising thing is that the UUP is totally silent – still nothing on the website.

    I hope that DSD finds another way to use the money for the more direct benefoit of deprived loyalist communities many of whose deprivation is to at least a certain extent the result of the malevolent influence of the UDA and others.

    The only point I would make given the claims that the SDLP is consistent on such issues is to remind everyone that then DFM Seamus Mallon promised that action would be taken by SDLP against Sinn Fein in the absence of IRA decommissioning but it never came. I make the point not to say that action shouldn’t be taken against the UDA – the opposite in fact to urge the SDLP to be consistent in their punishments against all terrorists.

  • IJP

    Where to start…

    Let’s go back to my three pillars of democracy:
    – functioning market economy;
    – rule of law;
    – representative democracy.

    Let’s look at Margaret’s decision:
    – cuts of subsidies where there’s no prospect of reward;
    – stands up to gangsters;
    – puts democratic representation ahead of self-appointed hard guys.

    I reckon that’s one for Margaret on each of the three, rendering her the only true democrat in the Executive.

    First, we’ve got to stop even this overall nonsense about “these communities need money”, just on the basis they’re “deprived”. This is liberal-left-lunacy. These communities need to get some self-respect and earn a living – and many of them want to. They should only receive government investment where they are prepared to do get up on their own two feet. There are huge numbers of willing projects crying out for just a few thousand quid to get up on their own two feet and who are unable to access it because the big bucks are going to the big mouths. So it is quite right that such vital funds be withdrawn from the unwilling groups. I hope they know find their way to the willing.

    Second, today has illustrated the utter hypocrisy of all Unionism on these matters. Sure, we even had that nice moderate McGimpsey on Let’s Talk telling us all that the time for Loyalist gangsterism had now passed – an implicit acceptance that Loyalist terrorism was, once, acceptable in Ulster Unionist eyes. No one should be surprised by this. Let’s put an end to this malarky that Unionists oppose terrorism in all its forms. It takes more than words to oppose terrorism – when it comes to actions, Unionists are all too willing to jump on certain platforms, protest outside certain blocks of flats, and do dodgy deals.

    Third, in some ways the most troubling of all: what is all this crap about illegality of a Minister’s decision? We’ve had Minister’s decisions about John Lewis overturned because the Judge didn’t like them, Minister’s decisions on PPS14 overturned because the Judge didn’t like them – who runs this country, the unaccountable legal eagles or the representatives of the people?

    This illustrates how slowly we are progressing along the road to true democracy. And that Margaret Ritchie is many miles further on than her Executive colleagues.

  • wait4it

    There are a lot of those who have posted on this site who will look very foolish very soon. Do you really think Robinson would have taken the line he did unless he knew what the legal advice was and that Ritchie had acted unlawfully? Anyone want to bet on the outcome. This is not about the UDA this is about a Minister acting unlawfully for party political purposes.
    Will those who have been praising Ritchie come back to apologise when the details of her irresponsible unlawful behaviour are made public in the days ahead or is the SDLP allowed to act unlawfully in taking sanctions agains loyalists having in the past refused to vote for sanctions against the IRA. Margaret is going to fall.

  • IJP

    The one unsurprising thing is that the UUP is totally silent

    Ay, right.

    That doesn’t surprise me at all.

    UUP – I Ran Away. Or something like that.

  • joeCanuck

    We have 4 major political parties.
    How many of them have not been either openly associated with paramilitary murderers or stood beside them, even sometimes wearing paramilitary paraphenalia?
    Only one by by account.
    How many of them are now trying to provide such murderers with a cloak of political respectability?
    Go figure.

  • Sean

    wait 4 it
    who cares if she acted illegally she acted properly and no matter what comes out of the courts she can always hold her head high

    maybe even raise the profile of the whole party if they are smart enough to get behind her

    no one will care if it is overturned in the courts they will just remembered she stopped them even if it was temporary. If any one will inheirit the shitty end of the stick it will be the NIO or the chearleaders from the DUP. This could be issue that UUP needs if they get off their hands

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Comrade Stalin: “Dread, someone has to start somewhere, and I’m glad Ritchie has taken it on the chin and blazed the trail.”

    Not disagreeing, but to take a moral stand, one has to have moral authority… something that Sinn Fein, at least on this matter, sadly lacks.

    Comrade Stalin: “Next question is, are the UDA going to say “bugger this” and step up the violence ? In which case the next thing we’ll have to deal with the police refusing to do anything about it and “calling upon those with influence” to stop it. ”

    If that is how its going to go, then let it go that way. If it takes pulling back the curtain and showing that the munchkins are in charge and that the Executive is naught but a paper-maiche head and related humbug, then lets get it done and over with.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    wait4it: “There are a lot of those who have posted on this site who will look very foolish very soon. Do you really think Robinson would have taken the line he did unless he knew what the legal advice was and that Ritchie had acted unlawfully? ”

    Second verse, same as the first… someone claims to know more than the rest, blah blah blah. Wonder if this one will do any better than Lofty…

    Couple of things.

    1) The problem with really good intel is that you can almost never use it, save when the fat is in the fire, since you end up burning your sources. One wonders why, then, the DUP is willing to burn an inside set of eyes to save the UDA’s bacon.

    2) This will go to court, when a decision will be made on which side hire the better attorney. Common sense says that Ritchie wouldn’t have gone so far out on this limb without something besides her arm up her sleeve.

    wait4it: “This is not about the UDA this is about a Minister acting unlawfully for party political purposes. ”

    If you truly believe that, I have a whole selection of bridges available for purchase.

    Painting a pumpkin black doesn’t make it round-shot. This is about paying off a collection of pimps and hoods and that is what the populace is going to remember most, followed closely on by how the two parties that claim to be for law and order were either out to appease the hoods or sadly silent.

  • USA

    I think MR will win this one. She already has public opinion, I think she can win in court, indeed may welcome the challange.
    She may also have strengthened her hand within nationalism and particularly south Down – primarily because Sinn Fein’s performance was underhand and will be remembered by many nationalists come election time.
    Well done Alliance for getting in behind her. This issue is fundamental – do you support democrats or terrorists? I see some soft unionist transfers going to the SDLP before the DUP in south Belfast over this one. UUP should speak up in support of MR.

  • Rapunsel

    Read her statement carefully ,last night and to me it is carefully balanced. Not much point in being a minister if you can’t take decisions and it was on record that SDLP opposed( rightly) allocation of oublic funds on sectarian grounds. NIO and the DSD civil servants in cahoots with the UDA thought they could get away with allocating the funds and sure if something good came out of it well and good and if it didn’t , ah well sure it was only £1.2 million. Heard this morning that DSD civil servants may have to be ordered to carry out the work suspending /terminating the contract. Did they have to be ordered last year to devise a sectarian funding mechanism to placate the NIO and the DUP? Don’t think so. There is something rotten in the DSD Voluntary and Commnity Unit , a combination of a lack of accountability developed under direct rule, an attitude of we know better than the minister. Well done Margaret for holding the UDA to account

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s ironic that SF will bypass the local government by appealing to the colonial administration in London for help.

  • brendan,belfast

    wait4it. hard luck, a valiant effort (not really but i am being polite). No matter what happens now, in court or on the streets, Margaret has won the day. no question about it.

    Dewi – what happens next in these communities? the right and proper thing would be for the weasles in the NIO to take the leash of the cops and get the thugs in Carrickfergus and elsewhere arrested, but two good things in one week might be wishful thinking.

    I heard someone from a Kilklooney development organisation on GMU this morning complaining that next thing you know the UVF will be ‘manipulated into decommissioning’ – here’s hoping.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Outsider:

    The SDLPs opposition to the IRA has always been at best rather muffled, they were happy to share power with Sinn Fein without any decomissioning occuring.

    At least the SDLP required there to be a ceasefire. The unionists voted Hugh Smyth in as the Lord Mayor of Belfast when the UVF were still actively killing. Explain that one to me.

    Then look at the unionists siding with thugs at UWC, Drumcree 96 where Paisley said to the police officers “don’t come running to me when they burn you out of your houses” and other significant events through history. Face it, unionists like keeping their thugs handy, in case they need them for a spot of “spontaneous agitation”. I’m damn sure that’s why the unionist ministers in the executive are hesitant to get in behind Ritchie. They’ve been scratching around for the past two months to figure out a way to try to stop Ritchie, and they think they’ve found it with this jumped-up legal rubbish. Let them publish their legal advice and we’ll see who is who. There are plenty of lawyers in the SDLP.

    El Mat,

    True about Fitt, but it’s a shame the way the SDLP treated him.

    IJP,

    I like that, “Ritchie is the only true democrat on the executive”. It sums the whole thing up really.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Yeah, I agree wait4it. Margaret Ritchie broke the law, as Peter Robinson(whose penchant includes red berets) said. This is all part of the vile fenian pan-nationalist front depriving good clean living protestant folk of their entitlements. She should have doubled the £1 million odd contributions to that lovable cultural group of law abiding Ulster folk.

  • DK

    “UUP should speak up in support of MR”.

    You’d have initially thought that this might be an opportunity for the UUP, but their own ill-fated PUP-pact undermines anything they could say – so silent they will remain, to their shame. And this yet again underscores just how stupid that PUP-pact was.

    So, big winners are SDLP, little winners are Alliance. The rest lose.

  • Nevin

    “Only one by by account.
    How many of them are now trying to provide such murderers with a cloak of political respectability?”

    Joe, surely you’re not thinking of John Hume, he who gave us the politics of inclusion? Has Margaret Ritchie ditched the Hume mantras?

  • URQUHART

    Margaret Ritchie: “There has been a sustained campaign of briefing against me and attempts to destabilise those around me.

    “In the end however, I know in my heart, over and above the complexities of assessing CTI, that the decision I have taken in my conscience is right.”

    It’s a long time since we’ve seen that kind of honesty or integrity in politics around here. In fact Nevin, I’d say we haven’t seen a lot of it since Hume took the risks he did to stop the killing.

  • Peter Brown

    Hello – earth to Cunningham House? Is there anyone there? Or does the PUP link prevent any favourable comment on this decision?

    As for Dundela Avenue using this as an opportunity to score cheap political points about legal niceties let Farset or UPRG take the judicial review – the SDLP has managed to take the moral high ground and instead of trying to join them you are currently unsuccessfully trying to drag them back down to your level. Its not playing well for either of the main unionist parties in among their constituencts where this decision is almost universally popular.

    If they continue to behave like this the Alliance will overrun the UUP inside the Pale and the DUP in the country – why is the UUP not jumping on this bandwagon?????

  • USA

    DK, I agree. The UUP cannot say much after their ill fated engagement to the PUP while the UVF are/were armed to the teeth. Did you know that since the “ceasefire” loyalist paramilitaries have murdered around 25 protestants. Why is Robinson doing the dirty work for the UPRG. Let them raise their own legal challange and let the DUP support the democrats.
    DUP Democracy no – DUP Hypocracy yes.

  • saiorse

    As has been clearly articulated many times already on this thread, the Unionists behaved appallingly yesterday. No surprise there then.
    But Sinn Fein? Shameful. They deserve to lose a lot of their votes back to SDLP after yesterday’s performance. Between that and the Irish language Act. Disgraceful. Sidling up to DUP (again) instead of showing their support to Margaret Ritchie no this issue. Jesus wept.

    Joe Canuck

    “If Robinson is hinting that, under the Code, this was a “significant or controversial” decision and should have been one for the whole Executive, where does that leave the McSweeney funding issue. Hardly non-controversial.”

    Good point. And nevermind non-controversial (which is somewhat open to interpretation) what about 2.4 of Ministerial Code that requires any matter which cuts across the responsibility of 2 or more Ministers to be brought to the attention of the Executive Committee. How many Ministers are involved with the Causeway?

    frank sinisstra

    “Any legislation passed on that hill yet?”

    Yes, 5 pieces. You been hibernating for a while?

    “A few fines and a couple of unemployed loyalists is the sum total of Ritchie’s contribution. And she’s lauded as the successful minister?”

    This hardly warrants a response but as you’re wrong, I should point out that Margaret Ritchie was responsible for one of those five Bills. But that fact pales in the face of what she did yesterday.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    dane-geld?

    Posted by Dread Cthulhu on Oct 16, 2007 @ 07:22 PM

    Sick of that word being trotted out all the time on this issue. You need to stop coming out with soundbites and address the fact that Ritchie is potentially endangering a process of change within the Ulster Defence Association that could help cement the peace process. Just as worrying is the fact she is harming communities like mine that need government funding to improve our areas and to ensure parity of esteem with republican communities that seem to have everything they need when we drive by/visit someone in them…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    So just to clarify 1 out of 16 staff is a convisted UDA felon and 3 are UDA aplogists. Are the 12 others not being tarred with the UDA brush because of this decision. I think this is going to end up in the courts.

    Posted by Ballygobackwards on Oct 16, 2007 @ 04:15 PM

    My point proven, this is not a UDA-driven iniative, they just support it.

    Another thing, even if every member of the CTI were ex-prisoners, there are UDA, UVF and Red Hand members/ex-members in the North and West Belfast Bands Forum, yet they do good work and sit down and talk with their republican counterparts. In otherwards, it would be fair to say that ex-prisoners have in the past been mature enough and far-sighted enough to be able to sit down with their former enemies for the good of peace over the contentious summer months, so surely these Loyalists should be given the opportunity to do good for their OWN communities…

  • saiorse

    Concerned Loyalist – dry yer eyes. If you feel agrieved because Nationalist/Republican areas seem to have ‘everything they need’ – ask yourself why they appear to be doing so much better. It’s not like it was handed to them on a plate. People in these areas worked bloody hard to establish the voluntary and community groups etc that they have long before they got any help of any kind.

    “Just as worrying is the fact she is harming communities like mine that need government funding to improve our areas”

    Margaret Ritchie made it clear that communities in need would receive funding. Just this way, hopefully funding will be going into the hands of people who actually need it and can benefit. Not the bunch of thugs that are now crying about being hard done by.

  • CL-

    “…Ritchie is potentially endangering a process of change within the Ulster Defence Association that could help cement the peace process.”

    That is a complete cop-out. Margaret Ritchie owes the UDA nothing. It it wholly their responsibility to decommission. To argue that they will only do so if they get cash from the government is tantamount to blackmail, and such threats down the barrel of a gun cannot be tolerated in a democratic society. They should put their guns out of action because it is the right thing to do, not because they could get paid for it.

    The UDA owes society decommissioning. We owe them nothing but anger and repulsion at the years of terror they inflicted upon men, women and children from both sides of the community.

    “Just as worrying is the fact she is harming communities like mine that need government funding to improve our areas and to ensure parity of esteem with republican communities that seem to have everything they need when we drive by/visit someone in them…”

    Wrong again. Did you listen to what Margaret said yesterday? She indicated that it is high on her list of priorities to address the needs of poor loyalist communities (much to the anger of SF in the chamber). However, there is no need for this to be done through the UDA. The Minister has visited many loyalist communities to see first-hand the problems they face, and is committed to helping them. There’s no votes in it for her in helping these people, but like her announcement yesterday, she is guided by conscience rather than partisan politicking and I don’t think that there is any doubt that she will see people right regardless of whether they live in loyalist or nationalist areas.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Concerned Loyalist – dry yer eyes. If you feel agrieved because Nationalist/Republican areas seem to have ‘everything they need’ – ask yourself why they appear to be doing so much better. It’s not like it was handed to them on a plate. People in these areas worked bloody hard to establish the voluntary and community groups etc that they have long before they got any help of any kind.

    Posted by saiorse on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:03 PM

    We can’t even get a bloody football pitch laid in our area to replace the joke for a pitch we have at the moment, so that don’t give me that bollocks. We are being treated as second-class citizens and this is just another case in a long line of decisions that have shown there is no such thing as parity of esteem between Loyalist and Republican communities.

    For example, Coleraine Borough Council are funding the local GAA Club, Owen Roe, even after receiving thousands of signatures from local people condemning this funding because of the Republican Parade at Casement Park, glorifying Republican terrorism. They can’t even fund or partly fund us for a Community Centre or a decent football pitch, yet they can fund a GAA Club that could fundraise the money for themselves like we had to do at my old Football Club…it’s a disgrace.

  • CL-

    Instead of yapping, do something about it. If the politicians you elect aren’t fighting your corner properly, then elect new ones! Forget this crap about needing the UDA to get cash to re-lay football pitches. Power lies in the mandate- the UDA has no mandate, so you need to make sure that people who do, such as the DUP and UUP in your area, are doing the work you elected them to do. It’s called democracy.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “There’s no votes in it for her in helping these people, but like her announcement yesterday, she is guided by conscience”

    Posted by El Matador on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:03 PM

    Are you for real? If you are I feel very sorry for you because you can’t honestly believe that, unless you’ve been completely hoodwinked by her rhetoric…

    Sectarian
    Demonisation
    Loyalist
    People

  • CL-

    How many votes are there to be gained in South Down through pumping money into the Village?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “Power lies in the mandate- the UDA has no mandate, so you need to make sure that people who do, such as the DUP and UUP in your area, are doing the work you elected them to do. It’s called democracy.”

    We’ve had DUP Councillors, MLA’s and even Gregory Campbell, our MP, was out at an 11th of July Day Of Culture and could see we were in need of recreational areas for the kids, yet we are still no further forward after THREE YEARS…

  • CL-

    “We’ve had DUP Councillors, MLA’s and even Gregory Campbell, our MP, was out at an 11th of July Day Of Culture and could see we were in need of recreational areas for the kids, yet we are still no further forward after THREE YEARS…”

    Exactly. So instead of sitting idly by while they engage in amateur dramatics at Stormont, perhaps you should be asking what they hell these unionist politicians are doing for you and your neightbours.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    How many votes are there to be gained in South Down through pumping money into the Village?

    Posted by El Matador on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:17 PM

    A good mate of mine who I was just speaking to yesterday lives on the Donegall Road. I’d love to hear his response when you ask him about funding and regeneration around his South Belfast home…it’s non-existent

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Joy, CL wants to play a game…

    Unreconstructed
    Drug-Dealing
    Alcoholics

    See, that was easy… I’d do one for your other heroes, the UFF, but that’s far too easy a target.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Exactly. So instead of sitting idly by while they engage in amateur dramatics at Stormont, perhaps you should be asking what they hell these unionist politicians are doing for you and your neightbours.

    Posted by El Matador on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:23 PM

    The only time I see David McClarty of the UUP is at Election Time – the Ulster Unionists are even worse than the DUP…why do you think Loyalist communities like mine in the East Londonderry constituency feel marginalised and disenfranchised? Our concerns are only ever met with the standard reply “We’ll look into that for you” when there are votes to be won, but, you’ll never guess what, nothing ever comes to fruition and we never see them again unless we specifically request a meeting…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Concerned Loyalist: “We’ve had DUP Councillors, MLA’s and even Gregory Campbell, our MP, was out at an 11th of July Day Of Culture and could see we were in need of recreational areas for the kids, yet we are still no further forward after THREE YEARS… ”

    And what does that tell you?

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result…

    Of course, the UDA’s problem lies in the seemingly apparent fact that the voters wouldn’t elect them dog-catcher, let alone counciller or MLA.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Concerned Loyalist: “why do you think Loyalist communities like mine in the East Londonderry constituency feel marginalised and disenfranchised? ”

    Because you’re bloc voters for parties who don’t represent your interests.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Joy, CL wants to play a game…

    Unreconstructed
    Drug-Dealing
    Alcoholics

    See, that was easy… I’d do one for your other heroes, the UFF, but that’s far too easy a target.

    Posted by Dread Cthulhu on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:27 PM

    My other heroes? The UFF are the military wing of the UDA, if you are going to attempt to play childish games you should perhaps know a little about the organisation you intend to poke fun at…

  • You get what you vote for. Simple as that.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Concerned Loyalist: “why do you think Loyalist communities like mine in the East Londonderry constituency feel marginalised and disenfranchised? “

    Because you’re bloc voters for parties who don’t represent your interests.

    Posted by Dread Cthulhu on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:31 PM

    Bloc voters? How do you mean? That we’ve all sat round and decided who we’re voting for?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    You get what you vote for. Simple as that.

    Posted by El Matador on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:33 PM

    We have to make do…
    The PUP don’t stand for Assembly or Westminster seats in East Londonderry and I would never vote for them regardless, and the UPRG are a political think-tank and not a party. In otherwards, as a Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist I have 3 choices: 1) DUP (who I’ve voted for ever since being eligible), 2) UUP, or 3) The anti-DUP-we’re-stuck-in-the-dark-ages-under-Jim-Allister…

    Do you understand our predicament?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    CL: “My other heroes? The UFF are the military wing of the UDA, if you are going to attempt to play childish games you should perhaps know a little about the organisation you intend to poke fun at… ”

    Same chuckleheads, different initials… or did that little detail escape you, CL? Different initial lead to different opportunites.

    For a guy who is so ready to dish out the snide comments, you’re awfull thin-skinned when the favor is returned. Do you honestly believe that when you do it, it’s “commentary” and when its reutrned to you, it’s suddenly “childish games?”

    You vote for parties who have no real incentive to aid you, you cheer-lead for a collection of thugs and drug-pushers and still you wonder why things go aglee…

    The UDA don’t have the popular support Sinn Fein enjoy. The DUP would appear to understand that they don’t need to do anything for you to get your votes, so they take you for granted. Under the current system, were they interested in the lot of Loyalist neighborhoods, they could have claimed the Social Development portfolio — they had the earlier choice.

  • That’s a fair point you make and I do understand your predicament. However, that’s not of Margaret Ritchie’s making. Perhaps if people stopped voting for the DUP so strongly, they’d start to get the hint that they’re not as great as they seem to think.

  • Outraged Loyalist

    Let’s face it the loyalist paramilitaries are the scum of the Earth and as Orde has said shouldn’t even be getting 50p. These drug dealing extortionists spent 30 years aping the IRA phrasebook, image and propaganda in order to fool people into thinking there was actually some independent structure behind them as opposed to being a bunch of mindless gangsters employed by the security services to do the dirty work. Now their paymasters have abandoned them the rest of us should move on without them. There is no need to have these people on board to “cement the peace process” as Concerned Loyalist states, because they are irrelevant to the peace process, always were, still are. They have no support, never had, never will.
    It is quite funny though to watch Concerned Loyalist whine about parity of esteem between Loyalism and Republicanism, sorry pal but you’re deluded. There’s no such thing as a Loyalism or a Loyalist community – it was just a bit of smoke and mirrors and you fell for it. I love the crying about the football pitch as well. Perhaps you are too young to remember the ‘loyalist’ campaign for segregation in the H-Blocks? Well before they got scared of those big nasty IRA men and refused to leave their cells, their ‘campaign’ involved sneeking into football grounds in the middle of the night and digging up the pitches. Lol, loyalists – catch yerself on pal.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Perhaps if people stopped voting for the DUP so strongly, they’d start to get the hint that they’re not as great as they seem to think.

    Posted by El Matador on Oct 17, 2007 @ 03:48 PM

    There is no alternative for working-class Loyalism. We are more concerned now with the bread and butter issues of socio-economic regeneration (the Union is safe) but both the Ntaionalist and Unionist parties still seem more interested in political point-scoring than actually addressing the hopes and fears of the people they represent, who voted for the weasels and who got them paid…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Something tells me that the above “Outraged Loyalist” is playing a wee game of “Let’s pretend to be a Prod to give ’em what’s for”…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    CL: “We have to make do…”

    Then “make do” and get on with it. When did whinging and trying to extort the govenment become “making do,” I wonder.

    CL: “The PUP don’t stand for Assembly or Westminster seats in East Londonderry and I would never vote for them regardless, and the UPRG are a political think-tank and not a party.”

    Throw in the fact that the last time the UDA ran candidates, they could barely get elected dog-catcher and you’ve got quite the problem.

    CL: “In otherwards, as a Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist I have 3 choices: 1) DUP (who I’ve voted for ever since being eligible), 2) UUP, or 3) The anti-DUP-we’re-stuck-in-the-dark-ages-under-Jim-Allister…

    Do you understand our predicament? ”

    Yeah — you’re up the creek without a paddle.

    That said, that your representatives don’t support or represent you is your problem.

    Frankly, I’d prefer to see a strictly need-based approach that targetted the worst neighborhoods, religion / politics being a non-issue. But, y’see, that’s a common sense approach and utility and politics don’t have much truck with one another.

    My other amusement is that all the UDA had to do is make a show of turning in a small lot of weapons, just the rusty odds and ends of decades of conflict, called it a “token of good faith” and Ritchie would have been on the back foot, especially given the fact that, outside of the Alliance party, the Ministers are a collection of bobble-head dolls on this issue.

  • Outraged Loyalist

    Maybe it all went over your little head CL. I’m not a Prod, or a Catholic for that matter, but as I said ‘loyalism’ is a makey-upy concept anyway, so I’ve decided to become a loyalist as well. Only my loyalism just might not fit your Protestant, Unionist interpretation.

  • saiorse

    CL, ahh, concerned about bread and butter issues now that you don’t have everything (houses, jobs….)handed to you on a plate? Tough isn’t it? While you complain about how great things are in working-class nationalist/republican areas compared to your poor football-pitchless estate, you are forgetting that these people have been concerned about these issues for decades and have been working hard to improve their lot, in least in terms of parity and equality, but infrastructure, facilities, community, education etc. There’s still a long way to go in a lot of places but at least you don’t have anyone on here cryin about how no one will help them and there’s nothing that can be done to change the situation. Oh, bar handouts to terrorists (which we are supposed to believe is somehow supposed to improve the lives of ordinary people! Hilarious). Who are you trying to kid?

  • lib2016

    “both the Nationalist and Unionist parties still seem more interested in political point-scoring”

    Depends on your point of view – it seems to me that both the SDLP and Alliance are fairly straight various individuals in the unionist parties do try. They are politicans however and the rule is ‘let the buyer beware’.

    Personally I’m finding it very interesting to watch our politicans as they manouevre. They do have huge disagreements and a way has to be found for them to express those disagreements while still staying in the one Executive.

    Ritchie is definitely scoring points at the moment, not least for forcing the DUP into the open about the UDA. Since Dodds won the race to give political support at Holy Cross no-one doubted where they stood but it is nice to have the evidence out where we can see it.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Concerned Loyalist: “There is no alternative for working-class Loyalism.”

    *shrug*

    Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again and expecting different outcomes from the same inputs. The DUP have made it clear that they do not value your votes, and yet you still vote for them.

    Concerned Loyalist: “We are more concerned now with the bread and butter issues of socio-economic regeneration (the Union is safe) but both the Ntaionalist and Unionist parties still seem more interested in political point-scoring than actually addressing the hopes and fears of the people they represent, who voted for the weasels and who got them paid… ”

    If, as you argue, the Union is safe, then this would be *PRECISELY* the time to explore other options, given the DUP’s unwillingness to actually represent your interests.

    Right now, y’all don’t have a seat at the table — hell, you don’t even have a seat at the kiddies table, politically speaking. What have you got to lose? The Union is safe and the DUP don’t represent you — how is voting for independent candidates (with DUP transfers as early preferences as insurance) going to make anything worse? Who knows — get the right independents and you might get a seat at the table.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “Ritchie is definitely scoring points at the moment, not least for forcing the DUP into the open about the UDA. Since Dodds won the race to give political support at Holy Cross no-one doubted where they stood but it is nice to have the evidence out where we can see it. ”

    There is a difference between scoring point and making one. Ritchie did the latter, not the former. Her point, that the gov’t should not be in the business of handing out money to criminal organizations (or their sock-monkeys) is, admittedly, an uncomfortable one for some of the other parties… but whose problem is that?

  • justthoughtidask

    CL
    Can’t get anyone to represent your views? Then stand for election yourself.
    What people can’t do, and Margaret Ritchie (God bless her for doing it) is making this clear, is hold democracy and law and order to ransom just because they have a few guns and a violent attitude.
    If you can’t get elected, then tough. It’s how democracy works, ask Bob McCartney. As for the likes of you calling Jim Allister a dinosaur. I don’t think much of him, but at least he is a democrat. He isn’t fronting or cheerleading a collection of rabble trying to hold democracy to ransom. In fact, all told, for all his many faults Allister makes for a hundred of the clowns you have aligned yourself with.
    Spare us the self pity act, nobody is buying it.

  • Nevin

    Urguhart, I’ve just pointed out that Ritchie’s current stance is now the opposite of that promoted by Hume. When did the SDLP position change? It would be good if it could be sustained and that it could be endorsed by the other parties – as well as by London and Dublin.

    Also the street politics of the likes of Hume and Paisley did a lot to put our ‘tribes’ at each other’s throats.

  • joeCanuck

    Nevin
    Your insinuation is rather vague (you took me to task too, earlier). Can you be more specific so that I can give you an answer?

  • Certainly an interesting day politically. Unsuprisingly I 100% support Mrs Ritchie’s decision. The fact of the matter is that funding is being pulled from UDA/UPRG fronted groups. This is a good thing. If the projects where ran anything like their other pet projects that I’m aware of such as Gae Lairn it would be a huge waste of money. There are hundreds of worth while projects in loyalist areas starved for funding. I worked in one such project that collapsed when Learn Direct pulled out of NI along with over 90% of our funding. Where was Peter Robinson then to fight the corner and threaten legal action?

  • Nevin

    I made several insinuations, Joe!!

    I’ve put up the link about Hume’s argument that decommissioning was a ‘dangerous distraction’ whereas Ritchie’s Decommissioning must happen could have come from a Trimble speech. I’ve not yet seen an explanation for this apparent SDLP about turn.

    The confrontational nature of the partisan street politics of the likes of Hume and Paisley was likely to lead eventually to sermons in stones and worse eg Derry riots inter-communal long precede the arrival of both Hume and Paisley.

  • joeCanuck

    OK Nevin.

    The link you provide is actually to a speech by John Major which refers to Hume’s statement. Since we don’t have Hume’s statement in context, it’s hard to comment. But although decommissioning may have been a “distraction”, Hume was always clear that violence had to stop.
    Similarly, Ritchie made it clear that decommissioning wasn’t the sole issue.
    She also said “I will also want to see evidence that the UDA has moved irreversibly away from criminality and violence to positive and lawful community transformation.” Carrickfergus and Kilcooley blew any case the UDA might have had clean out of the water. And, it continued last weekend.
    I am not a spokesman for the SDLP btw. Just an interested observer.

  • This has taken way too long. Debate necessitates time, but i don’t see why politicians in Northern Ireland need to make a spectacle out of every event.

  • Nevin

    Joe, Hume’s comment is fairly straightforward; he also argued for inclusion even when paramilitary violence was ongoing.

    Arguing for violence to stop was rather disingenuous when you consider that Paisley-Hume street politics fomented it.

  • Nevin-

    “Arguing for violence to stop was rather disingenuous when you consider that Paisley-Hume street politics fomented it.”

    I’ll not argue much with your Paisley point, but on your claim that the actions of John Hume caused violence, well pardon my French, but you’re talking bollocks. You seem to be insinuating that because Hume and his associates who formed the SDLP dared to stand up against the elective unionist dictatorship and its bigoted excesses, they were somehow responsible for those who took up arms. Rubbish. Hume et al always preached the need for peaceful action and never did anything to encourage people to use the bullet or the bomb. To suggest anything else is nothing short of libel.

    Perhaps you should look at the response of the unionist regime and its London-based backers to see why some people may have turned to the gun- internment, seriously assaulting peaceful protestors and slaughtering innocent people during a march do not make for peace. It doesn’t excuse the violence of the groups like the IRA, but it is a much more likely cause of it than John Hume and his street politics.

  • joeCanuck

    Well Nevin
    If you are going to equate Hume’s public rabble rousing with Paisley’s, all I can say is that you must be very much younger than I am and/or else have a very selective memory.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Abdul-Rahim: “This has taken way too long. Debate necessitates time, but i don’t see why politicians in Northern Ireland need to make a spectacle out of every event. ”

    Rule of thumb — the smaller the stakes, the larger the spectacle. Not sure why, but in bureaucracies, that is just the way it seems to go.

  • Liberace

    Surely Magraret Ritchie could spare a few quid for Samantha Duddy’s Funeral.

    If not she has a stone where her heart should be

  • P

    Me thinks that Abdul-Rahim is unfamilure with politicians in general. All politicians are out to grap headlines and sound bites. In NI there is just the opportunity for more of them due to the fickle nature of the electorate here.

  • Pounder

    Oops the above should have been posted as me, Pounder. Please be advised I am not sock puppeting.

  • URQUHART

    Nevin: “Joe, Hume’s comment is fairly straightforward; he also argued for inclusion even when paramilitary violence was ongoing.”

    And I expect that Margaret is probably happy enough to keep talking to them, making the case for decommissioning.

    The difference, which I thought might have been pretty obvious, is that she doesn’t think the taxpayer should be bankrolling them.

  • Pounder

    Frankly (pardon the unintended pun) the UPRG called her bluff and ended up with egg on their faces. To slightly miss quote another prominant female politician “The lady wasn’t for turning”.

  • Nevin

    Urguhart, the taxpayer, directly and via international funding, has been bankrolling paramilitaries for years. The SDLP, in the form of Margaret Ritchie, has ‘flip-fopped’ – and caught lots of people out. Let’s hope no decent folks become victims of this dramatic, though welcome, change in direction.

    PS I chanced upon a gathering on the day of Stormontgate where Farren, Empey, Parlon and a clutch of civil servants were wining and dining before doling out large wads of EU cash to inter alia paramilitary loons.

  • Sean

    Pounder it wasnt a bluff the UDA drew in to a pat hand and lost their table stakes

  • Nevin

    Joe, I wasn’t equating their rabble-rousing; rather I was equating their street politics which predictably put the ‘rabble’ at each other’s throats. Hume should have known better; he’s studied history, including the history of Derry.

    I’m a wee bit younger than Hume; I also had the privilege of going to Queens University in Belfast in the early 60s when relationships between the tribes had begun to thaw. Ray, QUB Chaplain and founder of the Corrymeela Community, was a great source of inspiration and it was natural that I should then have got involved in an inter-schools program in Coleraine – in addition to my day job.

    I started dabbling in genealogy, history and politics in the 90s; I expanded Hume’s partisan three-strand analysis of our politics to include the Unionist aspiration in the early 90s.

  • joeCanuck

    Maybe we met sometime. It seems we’re Queens contemporaries.

  • Nevin

    We used to have great crack in the Glee Club sessions in the old Union at the foot of University Square.