“While the government has not got all that it hoped for, it is nevertheless delighted..”

According to the BBC’s Vincent Kearney

It is understood that the UDA wanted something in return for its guns and asked for several million pounds for community projects in loyalists areas as well as the early release of UDA prisoners convicted after the loyalist ceasefires. The government, however, refused, so the organisation scaled down its plans for decommissioning.

Although, why the UDA thought they could trade guns for public funds, and political capital, in those areas is anyone’s guess.. Still, at least it means public funds are not being channelled to representatives of the UDA.. Oh wait, they are..Vincent Kearney continues

While the government has not got all that it hoped for, it is nevertheless delighted with the progress that has been made and hopes there will be more.

Or, the UDA didn’t lose sight of their priorities and gambled that the minimum possible movement would be sufficient for an optimistic government to break out the champagne and delay the threatened imminent departure of that train.

So what is the trade off?

, , , ,

  • Comrade Stalin

    The only people who have a legitimate role in lobbying for loyalist areas are the politicians they elect. If the UDA reckon they can do a better job, let them put up candidates.

    Until then, the people who produced this UDA demand should be prosecuted for extortion, never mind membership of an illegal organization.

  • aquifer

    The UDA has ceased extortion operations, and citizens should report anyone demanding money in the name of any loyalist or nationalist paramilitary organisation to the PSNI.

    That is a statement I would like to hear.

    Partial decomissioning means they can still point pistols at any british citizen.

    Intolerable.

  • riddle me this

    Peter

    Vincent Kearney needs to dig deeper (as do you).

    Money is certainly changing hands and promises of additional funding have been made. Look to the Northern Ireland Office.

  • Pete Baker

    riddler

    I had already asked “What is the trade off?” [below the fold].

    But I’ve added to the final line above the fold too.

  • Rory Carr

    Christ on a stick! If they are demanding £millions for some token surrender of firearms what next? The bill for individual compensation for the traumatic stress occasioned by voluntary laser tattoo removal will overtake the costs of the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

  • jerryp

    Profits from drugs aren’t as good as they used to be.

  • fin

    Peter Robinson and the DUP claimed to have been in talks with paramilitaries for several months leading up to this, is this why the PSNI were so quick to deny UDA involvement in crimes such as McDaids murder to avoid any embarassment for Robbo and did Robbo know about the cash demand, did the UDA go direct to the govt. or through the DUP, have organisations that the UDA and its supporters would be expected to be associated with received any funding of late,

    new Lambeg, rates rebate anyone…………..

    is combat 18 the new black…so to speak

  • Different Drummer

    Fin I agree the new look politics is reaction on the march. But you forget it will not be Robbo and the DUP calling the shots – it will be ‘New Loyalism’ ie TUV supporters – and they will make the GFA ‘Community’ UDA look like avon ladies.

  • LURIG

    The UDA doing what the UDA is good at, extortion. It’s clear what’s going on here. The UDA has stoked up racism in South Belfast then went to the British government and said “We’ll stop this if you give us millions”. They did the same at the Belfast interfaces. They attacked Catholic homes then went to the two governments and said “It wasn’t us guv but give us a couple of million for ‘community jobs’ and we’ll stop it”. It is blackmail from a group of thugs led by a convicted extortionist. The shameful thing is that London & Dublin will cave in to the blackmail, give them millions and let them carry on with their drugdealing and criminality. There is one solution and the Brits can do it if they want. Send in a couple of hundred cops to lift and interrogate the Brigadiers and gather the evidence to put them behind bars. However the political will is not there to do it. The most shameful part of the last week has been the role of the Northern media which has deliberately ignored Loyalist paramilitary involvement.

  • To be honest, I could live with a few million going to the UDA. It’s not what I would want by any means, but the best you can hope for in matters like this is that everyone can live with it, not like it.

    I’d often tried to understand Unionist suspicion about PIRA decommissioning by imagining this scenario. Unless you are in the General’s shoes, it’s difficult to feel confident. But a level of confidence you can live with is the most you can expect.

    However, if millions of pounds are to be handed over, they need to be aimed at dismantling community control and building community participation. Not evolving control, as is being attempted in republican communities (CRJI). That control is precisely the role of Frankie Gallagher et al.

    Another key difference is that we know the British government was able to ensure loyalist paramilitaries had all the weaponry they needed. I have little doubt they would do the same again, so in many senses this is an empty gesture.

    On the whole then, the most important thing is not demilitarisation, but civilisation, as has so often been pointed out here.

  • “While the government has not got all that it hoped for, it is nevertheless delighted..”

    and

    President welcomes loyalist move on weapons

    including a little puff from the ‘supernaturalists’:

    “I would encourage all those in leadership in loyalism to continue to work for the well-being of loyalist communities ..”

    So community control is just grand when it’s endorsed by the great and the good 🙁

  • Rory Carr

    Herself who, given her upbringing in the Brethren, rarely resorts to profanity, somewhat shocked me last evening with her reaction to this news of a demand for millions of pounds from the loyalist gangmasters:

    “What, they haven’t the skill or the brains or the balls to rob their own fucking bank?”

    Perhaps she has a point.

  • oracle

    Personally I’d prefer it if they decomissioned their stocks of
    Heroin/Cocaine/Crack/C-Me/Tam/Diaz/Tranqs/Steroids ect

    Far more dangerous for us all than a rifle shoved up a drainpipe

  • Cynic

    I am slightly confused. For years SF and its satellite ‘community groups’ of ‘concerned citizens’ were plied with Government Grants to ‘help develop the community and cement the peace process’. Indeed, that process has now had more cement poured into it than the Great Wall of China ever did.

    Now if the UDA give up violence and their guns, why should they and their community be tretaed differently? Why should the bribes (sorry, community development monies) not flow to them too?

    Ah you say, but they are just murders, drug dealers, robbers, thugs. Just like the republicans are murderers, smugglers, robbers (remember Northern Bank), money launderers, counterfeiters and general bad eggs.

    My own view is that I wouldnt give any of them a penny. As some of the figures published today show Government in NI spends up to 20% more than in the rest of the UK and productivity here is 20 to 40% less. We need to fix that and get some of our community workers into productive real jobs. BUt its instructive that a lot of the commentary on this is very one sided.

  • Comrade Stalin

    To be honest, I could live with a few million going to the UDA. It’s not what I would want by any means, but the best you can hope for in matters like this is that everyone can live with it, not like it.

    Jesus Christ, Damien, are you out of your fucking head or what ? What can there possibly be good about the state bending to extortion ?

    I think LURIG is right, aggressive police action would put a stop to this. Pressure needs to be applied to the unionists to follow this route, and they need to be exposed if they resist it.

    cynic:

    Now if the UDA give up violence and their guns, why should they and their community be tretaed differently? Why should the bribes (sorry, community development monies) not flow to them too?

    Because SF are the elected representatives of their community. The UDA are not the elected representatives of theirs.

    It is indeed notable that unionist politicians don’t even seem to be slightly concerned about the UDA’s effort, exemplified here, to usurp their role as elected representatives.

  • “Jesus Christ, Damien, are you out of your fucking head or what?”

    Don’t be too polite there CS.

    I do have a lot of sympathy for what LURIG says. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he were right, though I think it may be more complicated even than that.

    But the issue of how loyalist communities undergo transition is important, just as in republican ones. If I’d suggested a blank cheque to the UDA leaders, I would be a little crazy, yes. But I didn’t.

    How the money is directed is important, and that’s why I said it should be used to dismantle community control and create a process of civilisation. It goes without saying that this requires political leadership, but I should have been more explicit.

    “It is indeed notable that unionist politicians don’t even seem to be slightly concerned about the UDA’s effort, exemplified here, to usurp their role as elected representatives.”

    I would imagine their role will be a little more influential than you are suggesting. It’s important to remember, though, that a vote for the DUP was often an expression of sympathy for the paramilitaries, so you risk a false dichotomy in some respects.

  • Cynic

    “Because SF are the elected representatives of their community. The UDA are not the elected representatives of theirs.”

    Most of the money channelled into Nationalist communities doesn’t go to SF – it goes to a myriad of ‘community groups’ which often seem to have a have a high proportion of SF supporters and ‘former members of the movement’ on them and whose applications are strongly supported by elected SF representatives.

    So what’s the difference? And if elected Unionist politicians lobby for this money and it goes to ex UDA members will you stop the citicism? Or will you criticise the elected members for ‘supporting’ the UDA?

    Your grievance would also carry a little more weight if after Castlereagh, Stormontgate and the Northern Bank you called for all grants to the nationalist groups supported by SF to be stopped. I dont seem to remember that though?

  • Cynic

    “a vote for the DUP was often an expression of sympathy for the paramilitaries, so you risk a false dichotomy in some respects.”

    Damian

    While I personally detest the DUPs as a party, |I was unaware before of the SDLPs psychic powers in determining what protestant voters thought when they cast their ballot.

    I can only say that, had those psychic powers been turned on assessing the views of the nationalist electorate, over the years you might havbe been able to do a bit better in the polls.

    PS Stereotyping is also lazy politics

    PPS Prods also don’t keep their coal in the bath or (generally) sleep with their sashes on (except perhaps in Ballymena)

  • I was careful not to generalise. When you look at the Shankill ward, for example, there is undeniably some overlap. For the nth time, I’m nothing to do with the sdlp

  • “Prods also don’t keep their coal in the bath or (generally) sleep with their sashes on (except perhaps in Ballymena)”

    Are you flirting? I wear nothing to bed but Chanel no 5 and my sash?

  • fin

    “Your grievance would also carry a little more weight if after Castlereagh, Stormontgate and the Northern Bank you called for all grants to the nationalist groups supported by SF to be stopped. I dont seem to remember that though?”

    Castlereagh – Chef they won’t charge
    Stormontgate – British Agent
    Northern Bank – silly collapsed court case

    Possibly better idea to cal for all funding of the PSNI to be stopped and replace them with a non-political effectice police force recruited from outside NI

  • Comrade Stalin

    But the issue of how loyalist communities undergo transition is important, just as in republican ones. If I’d suggested a blank cheque to the UDA leaders, I would be a little crazy, yes. But I didn’t.

    Damien, this transition stuff is all bollocks. They’re a group of criminals and, more importantly, they don’t have any kind of mandate encouraging them to reform from the communities they claim to represent. We should listen to the ballot box. If people reject them at the ballot box why should we legitimize them ?

    Cynic:

    Most of the money channelled into Nationalist communities doesn’t go to SF – it goes to a myriad of ‘community groups’ which often seem to have a have a high proportion of SF supporters and ‘former members of the movement’ on them and whose applications are strongly supported by elected SF representatives.

    Same thing. You are aware, of course, that there is plenty of similar funding already going out on the loyalist side ? Like the money that the DSD minister, controversially, attempted to block ? That’s one project among hundreds.

    So what’s the difference? And if elected Unionist politicians lobby for this money and it goes to ex UDA members will you stop the citicism?

    The criticism wouldn’t be the same, because at least elected representatives would be coming clean and publicly calling for the subsidization of active paramilitaries.

    Or will you criticise the elected members for ‘supporting’ the UDA?

    I would, but the key difference is that the electorate would have a chance to give their opinion on the matter at the ballot box. This scenario is a bit different, the electorate have already given their opinion on the UDA at the ballot box and yet we’re acquiescing to their vision of themselves as representatives of the community.

    And you can’t really say – today at least – that it’s the same with the chuckies. They have almost entirely disarmed and they’re on their knees in places like West Belfast, begging the police to come in and sort the hoods out. The UDA aren’t anywhere near to this position. They want the money, and they do not want the police interfering with their criminal enterprises. The UVF are a somewhat different matter.

    Your grievance would also carry a little more weight if after Castlereagh, Stormontgate and the Northern Bank you called for all grants to the nationalist groups supported by SF to be stopped. I dont seem to remember that though?

    I’ve never supported grants going to terrorist organizations or their friends (or indeed to peaceful organizations who suck up grants and put nothing into the community) but I’m unable to gainsay the opinion of the electorate who support SF.

    While I personally detest the DUPs as a party, |I was unaware before of the SDLPs psychic powers in determining what protestant voters thought when they cast their ballot.

    Do you have to be psychic to ask the question about why unionists voted for William McCrea after he stood on a podium with Billy Wright who was in charge of an organization which was actively murdering civilians at the time ?

  • Cynic

    Fin

    “Chef they won’t charge”

    He’s in America. There would be extradition difficulkties with the US court as it was a political offence ie done on behalf of PIRA. Also, do you really think that the British Government want him extradited to expose what happened?

    “British Agent”

    So what. British Agent or double agent? He was still caught with all those papers stolen from Stormont

    ‘Silly collapsed court case’

    Of course once case did collapse. But this one didn’t.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/cunningham-guilty-of-laundering-northern-bank-raid-money/

    You might like to note that this was a verdict of an Irish Jury in an Irish Court have a look at where the cars were when the Gardai recovered them.

    But keep the rose tinted glasses on.

  • “Damien, this transition stuff is all bollocks.”

    It’s more the community than the active members I’m thinking of. Again, I think you’re overstretching the dichotomy.

  • fin

    Chef
    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:greVgu6t-SUJ:www.village.ie/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=1657+chef+castlereagh+arrest&cd=9&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    “Larry Zaitschek, the American chef accused by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) of helping organise a break-in at Castlereagh Barracks outside Belfast in March 2002 has returned to Ireland to seek a judicial review of his case”

    AND

    “In the aftermath, the robbery was blamed on disgruntled policemen and the PSNI’s then Chief Constable, Ronnie Flannagan, admitted it looked like an “inside job”.

    Donaldson

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4535774.stm

    No charges, no explanation, although it did allow Trimbel to collapse Stormont.

    Bank Robbery

    You posted a link to a Fianna Fail supporter been jailed for laundering money from the robbery, 2 court cases no connection with the IRA, your point is?

  • cynic

    Fin

    1 Amazingly nothing more seems to have surfaced on Mr Zaitschek’s Judicial Review or his trip to Ireland. The result is not listed on the Courts Service website nor is the result recorded anywhere. Wonder why?Perhaps because his application was thrown out? Still, if he wants to appear back to face the charges I am sure they will accommodate him , although that might not be considered a helpful step gievn the needs of the ‘process’

    “the robbery was blamed on disgruntled policemen”

    Yes …but mostly by Sinn Fein……

    Bank Robbery

    …. keep trying…. he was found with a wheelie bin full of stolen money, he claimed he was laundering it and that it was done under duress. He also said when he got worried he was promised that ‘the boys will sort it out’ and that he “was used by the IRA”

    Try here

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/financier-found-guilty-over-northern-bank-heist-dirty-money-racket-14247177.html

    http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/ireland/eyauidkfgbkf/

    The link to prominent Fianna Fail supporters means what exactly? Given that a former Finna Fail Leader actually funded the set up of PIRA using money stolen from the Irish state, why is that a surprise?

  • Big Maggie

    fin,

    “No charges, no explanation, although it did allow Trimble to collapse Stormont.”

    And oh dear did he live to regret it! But to be fair to David I doubt whether many would have suspected that Ian Paisley was lurking in the wings and about to turn the situation to his advantage. I certainly didn’t.

    It was a masterstroke. History will now be kind to the former corner-boy and rabble-rouser. My goodness, future historians may even refer to him as a “statesman”.

    Give me Peter Robinson any day. He’s doing rather well.

  • Big Maggie

    Ulsters,

    LOL!