“The views of the public face of loyalism in Belfast does not represent..”

The situation surrounding the statement by the Regional Committee UPRG North Antrim and Londonderry may be more complicated than Chris thinks. We’ve seen dissent in the UDA over the de facto leadership’s strategy before – notably in South East Antrim. One of our commenters, “riddle me this”, believes something is afoot.

6.The UPRG seems to be falling apart. I understand that their national committee no longer meet due to fallings out and that this statement is the start of Derry and North Antrim going it alone. This must have been sanctioned by their so called Brigadier so a split in the UDA is now on the cards. This in itself is potentially very worrying indeed.

And if the reports of the NIO’s refusal of demands for financial and political capital prior to the UDA’s reported start to decommission are true, or partially true, that might be seen to be reflected in the statement’s references to

“ongoing demonisation of loyalism in the region by government, politicians and others, the political apathy in relation to dealing with with the social issues affecting our grass roots loyalist communities and the politically motivated ‘green agenda’ operated by the PSNI throughout the north west”

and

“In 1998 were were told that no section of the community would be left behind in building a new Northern Ireland. However, since then, grass roots loyalist communities in the north west have been ignored and allowed to wallow in poverty, destitution and squalor. Political interference in community funding initiatives has seen vital work being carried out by loyalist community activists go ignored and unfunded”.

Such concerns have previously been expressed by that de facto leadership, Jackie McDonald in March 2007, and by the UPRG’s Frankie Gallagher in September of the same year. And there can be little doubt as to who the “public face of loyalism in Belfast” is a reference to in the UPRG’s statement.

“The situation today, with the announcement that the loyalist community in the largest geographical area of the Province have withdrawn their support for political institutions and the PSNI serve to remind all politicians that Northern Ireland is not about the city of Belfast alone. “Loyalist communities in North Antrim and Londonderry have been unfairly excluded. The views of the public face of loyalism in Belfast does not represent what loyalists in the rest of the Province are thinking. “The issues facing loyalists face in North Antrim [and] Londonderry are completely separate to those faced by loyalists in the urban expanse of Belfast and surrounding areas.”