I blogged in March about the suggestion that the PUP and UVF might split. They apparently were having a series of meetings. Now, however, Dawn Purvis is back in cheerleading mode. She states: “The important thing to note is that the UVF has lived up to its word and their commitment in that weapons have been put beyond reach and have not been used”
Explaining the complete lack of UVF decommissioning “The retention of weapons is probably an indication of the lack of confidence that the dividends from peace have not materialised in loyalist working class areas.”
And on continuing criminality “I think there is less criminality. I think people are making a real effort to civilianise.
“They are not being allowed to play a full role,”
“So what sort of message does that send out to people who were involved in the conflict and who want a peaceful future?” she asked.
This issue, she said, is linked to the question of how to deal with Northern Ireland’s past.
“If we are trying to come to terms with the past, then people should be entitled to share in that future.”
“We should look at how we should remove those barriers.”
I find the idea that the UVF are attempting to civilianise yet still need guns almost amusing were it not so serious that a band of sectarian murderers and general criminals are in possession of firearms and a public representative sees fit to try to justify this. I suppose loyalist terrorist criminals do find themselves more confident with the threat of firearms in the background. I am sure it makes one much more confident when one has a bit of intimidation or other criminality to perform.
Ms. Purvis seems most distressed that loyalist paramilitaries find it difficult to find gainful employment. Maybe that is because they usually seem disinclined to work for a living like the rest of us: preferring the more lucrative and easier profits to be made from criminality.
Of course when Ms. Purvis laments the failure for the peace dividend to materialise for working class unionist communities she is correct. One of the biggest failures of peace for these areas is that the UVF and the other assorted members of the alphabet soup continue to exist. That is a major burden to the communities which the UVF et al. feed off like some sort of parasitical monster destroying their communities, selling drugs to their children, running protection and prostitution rackets and periodically assaulting or murdering predominantly members of the working class unionist community. Indeed Ms. Purvis is correct that these communities have seen too little of the peace dividend and it is her friends, for whom she cheerleads, that keep it that way.