“It seems to me there is an arguable case..”

The BBC reports that Mr Justice Weatherup has granted leave for a judicial review of the withdrawal of funding from the UPRG-negotiated CTI project following a legal challenge by an employee of Farset.

Granting leave for a judicial review, Mr Justice Weatherup referred to the challenge to the minister’s authority to make the decision on her own. He said: “It seems to me there is an arguable case she made the decision herself without referring it to the executive.”

Which would appear to point us back to those disputed minutes of that Executive meeting.. and, no doubt, there’ll now be renewed examination of what was said at the time.

, , , ,

  • DC

    Was it not the case that ‘Farset’ was supposed to be the funding facilitator, a middleman between Government and UDA henchmen if you like. Surely the UDA men come active agents of the project should be the ones raising concerns about not having money to meet project needs. If money could really meet such needs anyway.

    So how, if what we are lead to believe, can a non-actionable holding group claim to be the main concern whenever the funding really was intended for others, particularly in light of Farset making out to the media that it was just some sort of fund-manager come nice little administrators.

    From this course of action Farset can be interpreted as representing the UDA moving fast in pursuit of money which against wider community resistance no one really wants them to have.

  • joeCanuck

    Hopefully this will be a simple case of whether or not employment laws were met in terminating the employment of Farset people.
    Although, given the Judge’s comments, that may not be the case.

  • URQUHART

    Surely the fact that the funding was exclusively and explicitly for Protestant areas only means that the thing was illegitimate from day one?

    No matter about cutting funding to the UDA being the right thing to do…

  • interested

    Really this line just about sums up Margaret Ritchie’s decision – from the barrister:

    “long on unction and false piety but short of the requisite legality”

    And from the judge
    “It seems to me there is an arguable case she made the decision herself without referring it to the executive.”

    Surely the whole issue was that she herself made no bones about the fact she didn’t go near the Executive.

    Doesn’t look good for Margaret now does it….

  • interested

    “Surely the fact that the funding was exclusively and explicitly for Protestant areas only means that the thing was illegitimate from day one?”

    Sounds like the musings of a wannabe lawyer if I ever heard one.

    If that was the case then the GAA wouldn’t get too much funding from the Sports Council now would it.

    How would we ever fund Womens’ Aid given that it clearly discriminates against men.

    Wise up – Ritchie f*cked up in the chase for some cheap publicity and has been caught out. She doesn’t want to make hard decisions but obviously thinks that being a Minister just means having photo-ops and whinging for more money. Unfortunately for her it actually requires some ability and decision making.

    Looks like she’s getting caught out on both fronts.

  • RepublicanStones

    i wasn’t aware the GAA barred protestants?????

  • Hogan

    Interested

    Your point would actually have some validity if it weren’t for the fact that the very reason we have any threads on the CTI funding issue was that Margaret Ritchie actually TOOK a ‘hard’ DECISION on the funding, apparently without the requried consent of Pope Peter II.

    Get a grip.. or at least think your points through to any degree?

    Ruane and Foster should give her a ring if they need any advice on sorting out the classroom assistants or the Causeway!

    “Minded…etc….” what a joke!!!!

  • interested

    RepublicanStones
    No they may not bar them but funding going to the GAA could hardly be described as likely to be accessed equally by Protestants, or even accessed to any meaningful degree by Protestants.

  • interested

    Hogan
    Its not a hard decision to run around claiming that you’re “taking money off the UDA” when

    a) The money wasn’t going to the UDA
    and
    b) She got legal advice telling her not to.

    Ritchie didn’t make a hard decision – she attempted to be populist and ignored legal advice telling her that she was going to end up in the position she has now ended up in.

    This is nothing to do with “Pope Peter” apart from the fact that he happened to point out the fact that she was acting unlawfully. That point has now been bourne out by the case taken by a Catholic Farset employee.

    Even if her decision was a ‘hard’ one – it was hardly a successful one given that the Court has told her to continue the funding.

    Either way she still made a hash of things.

  • Hogan

    Notice you ignored my point interested?

    No matter, i just noticed on BBC that the judge said he was basing his ruling on the fact that it seemed like the decision had been taken “without referring it to the executive”.

    If i was Marty and the boys QC i’d be advising them that given their concocted minutes of the executive decision to press full steam ahead.

    On the other hand if i was their PR advisor i’d be saying leave well alone. If it goes to court with full disclosure well all see that the memo’s from the ball-less SF ministers saying ‘its your problem’ are no londer a rumour.

    Oh joy!

  • Hogan

    Just read the shoukri story on the bbc!

    My god he has been CONVICTED?

    But how can this be?

    Isn’t this the same Shoukri that a couple of years ago a judge told us wasn’t actually in the UDA?

    Is it a coincidence that this was before the NIO had decided which side of the good/bad UDA split he was on?

    Take off the blinkers Norn Iron.

  • Turgon

    We are now in the situtation which a number of people predicted, namely a judicial review. This is not yet, however, a failure let alone a disaster for Ritchie. If she wins the judicial review then she will have been seen to have taken a difficult decision, been challenged on it and won. She will look even more popular to the general public and the same public will remember the response of the DUP and SF and (rightly or wrongly) conclude that they were cowards or even that they supported giving money to the UDA.

    If, however, Ritchie looses the decision the general public will think the law is an ass. The public quite clearly did not want money to go to the UDA (which is what the Farset money rightly or wrongly is seen as doing). As such the public will most likely feel that Ritchie did a principled thing and has been let down by the law and by the DUP and SF who once again will be seen as being either cowards or supporters of UDA funding. In this scenario (Ritchie loosing) the DUP and SF will have been seen as being legally correct but I still suggest that they will loose politically far more than Ritchie will. If they go onto the media and pronounce how Ritchie was wrong they will just look like cowards / UDA funders and now wallowing in a legal decision which is certain to be most unpopular with the public.

    There is, however, an even bigger potential disaster awaiting the DUP and SF. If it is decided that Ritchie was in the wrong because she failed to get SF and DUP backing and as such she looses; but that removing the funding would have been fine had the DUP and SF agreed then it is an absolute disaster for them. In such a case it looks completely like the DUP and SF have at best accidentally and possibly deliberately ensured continued funding for the UDA.

    One outcome, namely finding against Ritchie does her a little political damage (probably minimal). Pratically all the outcomes including the one that damages Ritchie will almopst certainly damage SF and the DUP much more.

    As such I suspect they will remain pretty quiet on this one or attempt to rewrite history to say that they supported Ritchie all along. In fairness both the DUP and SF have a fairly good track record in history rewriting; this one would take all their skills though.

  • DC

    “It seems to me there is an arguable case she made the decision herself without referring it to the executive”

    Yes but is that illegal? Let’s find out, as she seems to be within her departmental ‘right’ to exercise a choice of her own ministerial discretion.

    Peter Hain and Hanson, two unaccountables, didn’t refer this to any Executive as they of themselves both offered a financial harbour to a boat neither in a storm nor with any proof of the need to validate the draw down of such public monies.

    Even after Ritchie’s outcome, her decision was met with public opinion that she indeed financially prudent and used fair judgement. Bearing in mind the violence and attempted murder ongoing, despite objectives to the opposite of apparently supposed to stem from said project still which was still receiving said public funds.

    Everyone who is employed should really have a contract, yes, but when you are in employment and take to waving a gun around to get results or can be linked to encouraging that or playing no part in diminishing that occurence, then kiss your little contract night night.

  • barefacedcheek

    Just a few comments (with a smattering of rumour) as the BBC report is lacking in detail and accuracy;

    The Solicitor for Mr Solinas raised four points of law. The judge found in his favour ON ALL FOUR COUNTS.

    Mr Solinas is CTI worker not a Farset worker (although Farset administers the funds).

    The judge asked how much per month was needed to fund wages and he was informed that this was approximately £25K PER MONTH. He also ruled that additional programme costs should be continued with.

    The DSD have been holding private meetings with some CTI staff in an attempt to head off the legal action with a new deal that would specifically EXCLUDE Frankie Gallagher. Further talks are planned despite the legal action and a deal before the judicial review is very likely.

    The staff of CTI had a vote of no confidence in the Project Director Frankie Gallagher and informed Farset that they did not wish to work with him not matter what the outcome of the legal case. I also understand that this same message was relayed through a third party to the so called Inner Council of the UDA.

  • Mekong

    “If, however, Ritchie looses the decision the general public will think the law is an ass. The public quite clearly did not want money to go to the UDA (which is what the Farset money rightly or wrongly is seen as doing). As such the public will most likely feel that Ritchie did a principled thing and has been let down by the law and by the DUP and SF who once again will be seen as being either cowards or supporters of UDA funding. In this scenario (Ritchie loosing) the DUP and SF will have been seen as being legally correct but I still suggest that they will loose politically far more than Ritchie will. If they go onto the media and pronounce how Ritchie was wrong they will just look like cowards / UDA funders and now wallowing in a legal decision which is certain to be most unpopular with the public.”

    Turgon (is that simple letter replacement for Durkan)

    As I have said numerous times on this site since Ritchie’s ‘decision’, this was an SDLP political stunt. Faced with the inherited situation of funding the UDA Ritchie was instructed to ignore the legal advice, pull the funding, get the credit and let a judge overturn it and blame the judge. Cynical in extreme and with no real desire to actually stop funding to the UDA, simply ‘get yourself out of hole mags’. An actual decision would have been to withold the funding without creating new chest beating and illegal conditions about decommissioning which they knew was doomed to fail. Another abmissal political disaster for the inept SDLP strategists.

  • joeCanuck

    Mekong

    I think you’re up the delta without a paddle.

  • sms

    did anyone ever get a glimpse of the letter of offer given to Farset and the conditions attached? You would think that would throw some light on where the money was going and to whom, which in turn would tell just how easy or difficult this case is going to be for Margaret Ritchie

  • Mekong

    Joe,

    I am indeed in the delta but with a satnav and an outboard.

    The SDLP apparatichiks have been claiming that this ‘brave decision’ was about stopping money to the UDA, it was not and indeed I look forward to this whole affair going to court and the minutes issue coming under scutiny as Margaret Ritchie was lying and the civil servants present at the meeting will confirm this in court, this political stunt will soon be seen for what it was.

  • Turgon

    Mekong,

    Maybe you are right and Ritchie has been lying etc. I am dubious but maybe that will come out in court. If it does as you say Ritchie will suffer a little damage. The perception is very likely to remain, however, that she was trying to stop UDA funding and at worst was too enthuastic to do so; whilst the perception will remain that the DUP and SF supported giving money to the UDA. As such if this was all a political stunt by Ritchie I suggest it has been a most sucessful one whilst the DUP and SF have handled the whole affair extremely badly in PR terms. I really see no easy way in which this can turn out to be a PR victory for SF or the DUP.

    I must admit to being fascinated by this “Turgon (is that simple letter replacement for Durkan) ” Yes secretly I am actually a member of the SDLP.

  • Mekong

    Turgon,

    In terms of PR I tend agree,although she ahs been very fortunate and has an unquestioning media, SF gambled that Ritchie would make a balls of this and she almost did and may still yet. But please do not argue that it was about stopping money to the UDA, it was not, it was about saving face knowing the UDA were getting the money anyway. But accusing civil servants of altering minutes at the behest of other ministers is a serious allegation that went unnoticed in the melee but a judical examination will be very interesting.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Mekong: “In terms of PR I tend agree,although she ahs been very fortunate and has an unquestioning media, SF gambled that Ritchie would make a balls of this and she almost did and may still yet.”

    Please… SF slept-stumbled their way through this, unable to even to react to anything other than their assumed and preferred outcome, that being Ritchie folding like a cheap wallet.

    Ritchie inherited a problem-program that, arguably, is illegal on its face and one she (and most of the public) have no enthusiasm for. The CTI has four UPRG or UDA personnel on staff, representing 25% of the staff, iirc, giving the image of “jobs for the boys” sinecures. The UDA’s rhetoric, combined with their zany antics of shooting police, made some sort of run on this program inevitable.

    Mekong: “But please do not argue that it was about stopping money to the UDA, it was not, it was about saving face knowing the UDA were getting the money anyway.”

    Ok, here’s where I have to get a wee bit cynical.

    We were told that the program wasn’t laden with UDA / UPRG personnel, but staffed with professionals.

    We were told Ritchie wasn’t going to dare touch it.

    We were told the deal was in the bag and Ritchie was going to fold like a cheap wallet.

    Thus was, the UDA apologist and “Ritchie is wrong” crowds (please note, two seperate groups / identities, created with the easily offended in mind…) have been wrong at ever turn. Given that the lawyers who told her that the CTI program was sound as a pound were the same yahoos who approved this sectarian money-pipe in the first place, I don’t fault her for looking outside the bureaucrats for input.

    As noted elsewhere, the law is an ass. Is it possible that Farset can sort things out to their favor? Probably. Could a reasonably competant lawyer find ground for the grant to be pulled bureaucratically? Probably.

    The short version is that there is more smoke than fire here at this late date.. Regardless of what happens from here on in, Gallagher is on his way out (what about the other two sock-monkeys and the one hood, I wonder?), Ritchie has made her point and the public got to have a “Wizard of OZ” peek behind the curtain, with the DUP diving on the grenade for the UDA and SF reps wandering through the process like a bunch of glassy-eyed zombies, unable to respond to the changing situation.

  • Mekong

    Dread, the position of every sane person should have been that the UDA should get no money whatsoever, not even if they decommission in 60 days or longer, Maggie made the money conditional on decommissioning. Any half trained lawyer could pull apart the fact that a contract was signed with FARSET under an established letter of offer, a new minister then changed the letter of offer to include the need for decommissioning by the UDA within a timeframe, this was the legal advice, Ritchie and the SDLP knew this but the plan was to deflect the blame. Admittedly mission accomplished, in the public mind it may not be her fault, but at least it needs to be exposed for what it was.

    Housing crisis what housing crisis! I’ll spend 3 million on a ferris wheel.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “It seems to me there is an arguable case she made the decision herself without referring it to the executive.”

    To quote the Swedish rock band “The Hives”:
    “Hate to say I told you so!”

    Ritchie’s decision was a points-scoring exercise playing to the nationalist/republican gallery. It wasn’t only illegal, but was also narrow-minded and discriminatory against the deprived Loyalist communities this money was intended for, i.e. basically sectarian…

  • Turgon

    Hi Concerned Loyalist,

    Back again I see to denounce the bigotry of Ms Ritchie et al. Now Dread will not doubt take you to task on several issues but my business tonight with you is a little broader than usual. I have decided it is time to make you think about the broader political realities of the loyalist paramilitaries and their campaign.

    Ritchie has specifically stated that she wants to give money to working class loyalist areas just not to a front for thr UDA. Maybe she is lying but I suspect due to the publicity she will have (even if she does not want to) to give money to working class unionists.

    The problem remains that your friends in the UDA have no support. Their assorted attempts to get elected have been farcial. Even their friends in the UVF do only fractionally better. Then there is the issue of “their” areas. They are coming down with crime, poor housing, lack of opportunities. Your friends have repeatedly been accused by pratically everyone of being drug dealers and pimps.

    Drive down the Shankill road ans much of it is a wasteland. Those who can have left all that remain are those who cannot get out and of course the poor deprived UDA members in their 4x4s.

    I have asked this before concerned loyalist but what exactly did the UDA defend us from. The answer is nothing.

    I do feel it is in some way my duty to point this out to you CL. I do not actually regard you as an idiot you are after all going to university but I do feel that some of your views are utterly idiotic.

    The loyalist alphabet soup seem to have killed about 1020 people of whom about 873 were civilians. Now I do not like the Sutton index but it does give a sort of ball park figure. I am not CL going to try to argue with you the morality of loyalists killing republicans. I regard it as immoral that they did so but I know you will not agree. I am not ven going to argue that the nurder of innocent RCs was morally wrong. Of course it was but you have heard all this before and yet called the attack on the Heights bar in Loughlinisland a “military operation”. More like yabba dabba doo any taig will do.

    However, to tell you this was sinful, immoral and wicked is to waste my time. What I wih to confront is the supposed political benefit to the Unionist / Protestant population of the loyalist terrorists.
    What did your friends achieve for us the unionist / loyalist / Prod population. You may expect me to say nothing. Would that your friends had had that little effect.

    The loyalsit thesis is that killing RCs would make the RC population pressurise the IRA into stopping killing people and indeed surrendering. Well let us think about that. Did all the murders of border Protestants make South Armagh and South Fermanagh prods more likely to accept a united Ireland and reject the police and army. I can speak with i suspect a little more authority than you on this and the answer is No. Of course it did not, it increased thir support for their defenders (the army and police). Therefore how can you expect the murders of random RCs to have lessened RC support for the IRA. Quite the contrary it would drive people through fear and or anger right into the arms of the IRA. One of the very reaons the IRA committed vile sectarian murders such as Kingsmills, enniskillen and darkley was to provoke a response from the loyalists so allowing the IRA to mascurade as the defenders of the nationalist people.

    The next great disservice your friends did to unionism was that it lower us to the same level as the republicans. The anti catholic discrimination etc. (which you and I probably agree was over hyped before 1969) had in large measure been removed by the mid 1970s. As such had Prods never retaliated for the murders by the IRA the world would have seen a peaceful, decent community attacked by sectarian bigots from within another community. Instead because of the loyalists the world looked on and said that both sides were as bad as one another.

    The bottom line is that the UDA and the rest of the alphabet soup are achieving nothing other than damaging working class unionist communities. They previously never achieved anything other than damaging the cause of unionism both political, moral and social. Even if you are not interested in the moral issue look at the politics of it. They were an albatross around the necks of the unionist population. They defended us from nothing and inflicted great damage on our cause. The fact that the vast majority of the unionist population of all social backgrounds agrees with this is evidenced by the pitful levels of support the alphabet soup politicians garner at elections.

  • joeCanuck

    The next great disservice your friends did to unionism was that it lower us to the same level as the republicans.

    Knowing you from your posts Turgon, I take this to mean a subset of that ilk.

  • Turgon

    joeCanuck,

    Well yes of course but to some in the outside world I think it looked like unionists were just as bad as republicans. Indeed Adams an co have become very good at the term “unionist paramilitary” which demonstrates how the loyalist campaign has allowed the IRA and its cheerleaders to try to tar all unionists with the one brush, just as they are trying to tar all nationalists with the brush of having actually supported the IRA.

  • Turgon

    joe,
    Further failing on my part. I did not realise that if you type more than 5000 characters when you edit and re preview the page forgets your earlier changes. Hence the tying and grammar worse than usual.

  • Mekong

    Turgon, I take it all back your not Mark Durkan, you are Ken McGenniss with a spellcheck.

  • joeCanuck

    I do prefer to be called joe.
    I only call myself joeCanuck, mainly to distinguish myself from another Joe who occasionally comments.
    Also it’s fair that people should know that I’m in self-imposed exile and my views should legitimately carry less weight than people living over there.

  • Turgon

    Mekong,

    Oh no I am a lot less liberal than Ken. Try this thread http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/anti-powersharing-party-pokes-head-above-parapet/

    joe,
    I think your views are always sensible and carry weight. They do that on their own merits. Your location is a very secondary indeed in my view an irrelevant issue.

    I am still a bit annoyed with myself about the 5000 characters and the typos. The corrected post was much better.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘One of the very reaons the IRA committed vile sectarian murders such as Kingsmills, enniskillen and darkley was to provoke a response from the loyalists so allowing the IRA to mascurade as the defenders of the nationalist people.’ – Turgon

    really turgon is that so? so there was nothing happening in the weeks and months leading up to kingsmill? it was the IRA who were trying to draw loyalists into a tit for tat not the other way about. well im not sure if that is advocated in the ‘Green book’, but it has been been advocated by the british army in their colonial wars. i assume you have at least heard of General Kitson, if not read his rather unsavoury tactics and methods. after all wasn’t the miami showband gang lead by someone with a rather haughty english accent, Nairac. Unionism likes to dupe itself into believing the british govt would never employ such tactics on ‘british’ soil. Didn’t a kingsmill survivor also speak of hearing an english accent among their attackers? kinda makes you think doesn’t it?

    ‘The anti catholic discrimination etc. (which you and I probably agree was over hyped before 1969) had in large measure been removed by the mid 1970s. As such had Prods never retaliated for the murders by the IRA the world would have seen a peaceful, decent community attacked by sectarian bigots from within another community. Instead because of the loyalists the world looked on and said that both sides were as bad as one another.’-Turgon

    amazing how a member of a community call readily say that oppression of another community was over hyped. i don’t think even FW deClerk had the balls for that one. oh and had prods never retaliated…??? it seems you have no grasp of the history of the troubles. who were the first people killed? who was responsible for the first death of a member of the security services? didn’t the uvf have the first bombing campaign with the aim of implicating the IRA. if the ira started the violence, what was with the I Ran Away taunt, reagrading the absence of the IRA? if the IRA started it all, why was the british army brought into to protect Nationalists?

    Turgon you have just shown your true colours by posting such offensively inaccurate and i suggest, inciteful nonsense. I at least have the decency to state my basic position in my username, yet you put up a pretense, which has now been lifted.

  • Turgon

    RepublicanStones,
    The post you dislike is there for the stated reason, namely to get a young man who proclaims support for loyalist paramilitaires to think about the error of that position. To appeal to morality is pointless in such regard. To give a complex analysis of the troubles is pointless. One must address a person where they are. As such pointing out various grivances of the nationalist community and episodes of collusion (no matter how rreal any of them many be) is pointless.

    I knew the above post would incite nationalist anger. That is an unfortunate side effect of trying to debate with loyalist supporters at their own level of support for loyalism.

    If a non-violent nationalist / republican was debating with an IRA supporter they would use a similar strategy. I make no apology for trying to persuade CL that his path is in error. If you are offended by what I have said I am sorry. It was of necessity short and simplified. One does not harp on about nationalist grivances when trying to explain why unionist grivances do not justify violence and indeed that loyalist violence was a not only a moral but also a political error. If I failed in this aim it was in my opinion at least worth a try.

  • RepublicanStones

    i had seen CL’s comment, i just thought you could have been a little more factual, so i’ll reciprocate and offer my apologies for losing it a little, though it angered me, your intentions were good.

  • Turgon

    RepublicanStones,

    In fairness it is not a great post. The corrected version as said above was better but due to stupidity and the late hour I failed to send the corrected one.

  • Turgon

    RS,
    The post was not even that late. Okay stupidity alone.

  • Truth & Justice

    it seems Miss Ritchie is going to get egg all over her face

  • Curry Chip

    it seems Miss Ritchie is going to get egg all over her face

    Posted by Truth & Justice on Dec 01, 2007 @ 12:15 PM

    How so?

  • Rubicon

    Mr. Chip – I guess Concerned Loyalist and Truth & Justice saw the skinhead, tattooed gentleman winking at them from the court gallery. From this they believe they know the result of a case whose evidence has yet to be heard.

    I know this is cruel – but guys – the judge is the guy sitting in the big chair wearing a wig.

  • frustrated democrat

    Forget all the c**p Richie did the right thing, and she should be applauded for it.

    SF, DUP and the law will not change public opinion.

  • gordon

    Frustrated democrat- you’re suggesting we should just ignore the law. All democrats will end up frustrated if Government Ministers ignore the legal consequences of their actions. What moral high ground is there over the lawbreaking thugs when you break the law yourself?

  • frustrated democrat

    gordon

    Sometimes the law is an ass especially if it was to be based on, at best, questionable minutes, this is one of those times when I hope the law as applied is not an ass.

  • BonarLaw

    ffs- Ritchie did the right thing but went about it unlawfully and thanks to her stupidity the UDA and their hangers on are going to get our tax pounds. The same result could easily have been arrived at without the danger of the High Court delivering a career killing judgement. One has to ask why Ritchie, her advisors and party (Alban BL and one time solicitor Atwood) didn’t see this coming.

  • runciter

    Ritchie did the right thing but went about it unlawfully

    Just because SF-DUP say so doesn’t make it true.

    One has to ask why Ritchie, her advisors and party didn’t see this coming.

    Of course they saw this coming.

    However, unlike you, they understand what ‘this’ is.

  • joeCanuck

    Wouldn’t any contract have been one between the Government and Farset.
    Does an employee have any right in law to challenge the completion or not of a contract between his employer and a third party.
    I would have thought not.?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Mekong: “the position of every sane person should have been that the UDA should get no money whatsoever, not even if they decommission in 60 days or longer, Maggie made the money conditional on decommissioning.”

    Sometimes you have to play the hand you’re dealt, Mekong. You can’t shoot the moon every hand.

    With the DUP trying to anything and everything to protect the UDA’s place at the trough, mayhap she thought it a reasonable compromise to bring in the two major parties — SF, rationally would have no ground to object and DUP could take solace in the jobs for the boys.

    That said, given the joint membership between CTU and UDA/UPRG — a quarter of the staff, minimum, iirc — there are likely a few legal outs left for Ms. Ritchie.

    Concerned Loyalist: “Ritchie’s decision was a points-scoring exercise playing to the nationalist/republican gallery.”

    Only if you’ve been drinking the UDA / UPRG kool-aid, CL. You might want to check the polling data. IIRC, the approval rating for Ms. Ritchie’s move is far higher than this collection of mobsters and sock-puppets.

    Concerned Loyalist: “It wasn’t only illegal, but was also narrow-minded and discriminatory against the deprived Loyalist communities this money was intended for, i.e. basically sectarian… ”

    Anti-hood is not Anti-Protestant, or even anti-Loyalist. A college-educated fellow like you ought to be able to grasp that, CL. As noted aboov, a quarter of the “professional staff” of CTI were UDA thugs or their UPRG sock-puppets, including Frankie G., the sock-monkey in chief himself.

    If the UDA wanted this program to run smoothly, they should have done a better job lying about it.

    Turgon: “Now Dread will not doubt take you to task on several issues but my business tonight with you is a little broader than usual.”

    Truth be told, Turgon, I think stole most of my thunder, leaving me to point out the obvious.