BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport makes an interesting observation on his blog following his interview of Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward on Inside Politics today. Asked about reports noted previously – 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” – Shaun Woodward apparently insisted there had been “no deals and no negotiations”. From the Devenport Diaries
But you may wish to deconstruct Mr Woodward’s reference to the demand from loyalist areas for “greater representation” and involvement in the political process. The SoS also talked about showing “recognition” of the acts of leadership demonstrated by loyalism. When I asked him what concrete form such recognition might take and suggested that we might hear announcements about new social projects, he countered that such projects were a matter for the Stormont Executive. So watch this space.