“They don’t seem to see the inherent danger..”

With the final final deadline for paramilitary groups to decommission without consequences about to come hurtling around the New Year corner [February 2010], and with Martin McAleese still lobbying on behalf of the “good” UDA, in the Belfast Telegraph Alan Murray reports on the mood music from within those paramilitary groups.

The kitchen cabinet assembled here by Martin McAleese is composed of former public servants drawn mainly from the nationalist community in Northern Ireland and the criticism of it, from one who has had the introductions at a recent meeting in the Wellington Park, is that they don’t pick up the implications of funding projects nominated by the UDA alone. “They are well-meaning former public servants from here who just do not pick up the nuances of this within the loyalist world,” said a well-placed unionist source.

“They don’t seem to see the inherent danger in handing over projects totally to the control, or the partial control, of a paramilitary organisation and the message that would convey on the ground. “And they don’t get the angle that the UVF, which has decommissioned, feels that the UDA is being treated in a special way when they haven’t delivered and are breaking into pieces as a structure.”

Continued

It is inevitable McDonald won’t succeed in bringing all those within UDA ranks to the point of accepting Martin McAleese – never mind embracing Martin McGuinness, however genuine his intentions.

His policy to date has ‘lost’ the south-east Antrim brigade, part of the north Belfast brigade and he may be losing the Londonderry/ North Antrim brigade from the Inner Council structure.

If he does lose McFarland and his men in the next month or so, then the countdown to February’s decommissioning deadline will become a much more uncomfortable one for what remains of the UDA Inner Council.

, , , ,

  • Pigeon Toes

    “They are well-meaning former public servants”

    Aye right..

  • joeCanuck

    Unfortunately, Pete, we have learnt over the past many years that “last chances” are anything but.
    Await some weasel words come February ….some progress ..blah blah…

  • Turgon

    joe,
    I suspect you are correct. The problem is that these criminals (the loyalists) should not have been given any chances. They are a blight on society, particularly blighting the working class unionist areas they infest, destroying and corrupting everything with which they come into contact.

    Some of them are relatively cunning, however, at disguising their malevolent and self serving agendas and hence, suck in the naive (like McAleese) whom they delude into thinking that they (the loyalist terrorists) are the representatives rather than the oppressors in chief of working class unionists whom they feed off vampire like.

    The government seems to care relatively little provided the criminals keep their murdering, drug dealing, pimping ways within “their own” communities. People like McAleese probably from the best of motives merely compound the suffering of the working class unionist communities. Working class unionists are frequently unable to speak out against their oppressors, and to be honest too often mainstream usually middle class unionist politicians have not helped much. However, on the occasions when working class unionists are given the opportunity: elections; they show their contempt for the criminals in their midst. Hopefully the next Stormont election will see the criminals cheerleader in chief Dawn Purvis shown the door as Billy Hutchinson and the others already have been.

    Sadly McAleese and the government both seem oblivious through accident or design to this and continue to entreat with these people rather than oppose them the way civilised people do the drug gangs in the likes of Dublin or Manchester.

  • chewnic

    The problem is this. Who else can the governments deal with within communities that need regeneration?
    The community groups in these areas are properly constituted, whether you like it or not.

  • I get the feeling McDonald is sincere enough in his intentions. The challenge is the one highlighted by the 20th IMC report which casts doubt on the viability of UDA internal structures. With the Shoukri brothers out of action through death or imprisonment, Jim Gray and John Gregg dead and the South East Antrim brigade split from the leadership, it might be hard to enact any policy whatsoever from the Inner Council. Although Billy McFarlane denies that the North Antrim and Londonderry Brigade has split from the centre too, all the rumours indicate some tension there. Indeed, ‘Warrior Magazine’ is hardly something that indicates a new community-spirited UDA. Who is in charge of the UDA in North, East and West Belfast nowadays?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Turgon: “The problem is that these criminals (the loyalists) should not have been given any chances. They are a blight on society, particularly blighting the working class unionist areas they infest, destroying and corrupting everything with which they come into contact.”

    If they were such a toss, Turgon, why did the BA and the RUC see fit to collaborate with them from time to time, providing them with training, equipment and intelligence? They were the useful dupes, disposable assets that, uncomfortably for some, have proven hard to dispose of.

    Turgon: “Some of them are relatively cunning, however, at disguising their malevolent and self serving agendas and hence, suck in the naive (like McAleese) whom they delude into thinking that they (the loyalist terrorists) are the representatives rather than the oppressors in chief of working class unionists whom they feed off vampire like.”

    Again, someone must have thought them useful once upon a time — it isn’t as if the powers that be don’t know who they are, where to find them and what they’ve done that that state could nail them to the far wall over. It is that the state lack the will to do what is necessary to address the problem, despite the nature of the Loyalist formations. One wonders what the hoods might have that would make the powers that be so hesitant to, y’know, do their jobs.

  • Stephen Blacker

    I think it is a positive step for any Group to move away from the mindset of wanting to use violence as a method of putting their point across. The UDA are very fractured with lots of chiefs and very few leaders, so maybe they should be encouraged to complete this next stage of their journey to catch up with the rest of us! If the dead-line arrives with guns not handed over but a process started then I would be happy enough if it continued so the guns would be taken out of the control of UDA elements! Turgon surprised me by lambasting the excellent work achieved by the PUP and Dawn Purvis in particular. Dawn Purvis really does live up to the name of her party, Progressive, an honest politician is hard to find and she is as straight as they come!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    SB: “The UDA are very fractured with lots of chiefs and very few leaders, so maybe they should be encouraged to complete this next stage of their journey to catch up with the rest of us! If the dead-line arrives with guns not handed over but a process started then I would be happy enough if it continued so the guns would be taken out of the control of UDA elements!”

    Under the logic that the beatings will continue until morale improves, no doubt.

    There are, shall we say, a couple problems with the logic above. The first is the small matter of danegeld — I am certain that any process will involve demands by the UDA for “sweeteners” to grease the process along, sweeteners whose cut-off for non-performance will neither be seriously contemplated by the gov’t or accepted by the hoods.

    The second is that the guns are able to be replaced — the UDA, being criminals, don’t let little things like laws get in the way of their getting what they want.

    Besides, they’re not going to give up all their guns — their “private side” operations require the ability to enforce their decisions — the protection rackets and drug distribution operations don’t operate and protect themselves.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Dread Cthulhu
    I do agree that my thoughts on this issue has some logical flaws but that is the nature of this situation, is there a right way or is there a wrong way? Of course there should not be any guns held by gangsters, hoods, scumbags whatever you call them, but the reality is there is lots of guns out there and as long as money can be made from them there will always be a means to get more. Does that mean you dont try, does that mean you move in and take the guns by force?

    As regards beatings, i dont know where that came from but anyone giving someone a beating must feel the full force of the law, innocent until proven guilty! Lets hope the dead-line is met and 2010 is an even better year for our Peace Process.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    SB: “I do agree that my thoughts on this issue has some logical flaws but that is the nature of this situation, is there a right way or is there a wrong way?”

    Sure there is. The right way is to give the whole collection of thugs, regardless of which side of the color line they happen to be standing on, a definitive deadline to wrap up their operations, after which their antics will no longer be deemed political crime, but ordinary crime, full stop, do not pass go, do not collect 200 quid.

    Pussy-footing around, paying the hoods not to be hoods, etc., is the wrong way.

    SB: “Of course there should not be any guns held by gangsters, hoods, scumbags whatever you call them, but the reality is there is lots of guns out there and as long as money can be made from them there will always be a means to get more. Does that mean you dont try, does that mean you move in and take the guns by force?”

    It means you make being a gun-toting hood too expensive to be. That means you prosecute the ones you catch, rather than the PSNI’s and Prosecution services idiotic “catch, dither and release” program. It means that you go after the gangsters, full stop. The Mafia in the states used to be in pretty good shape until the Federal gov’t decided that they were going to be serious about them and went after them. It is the act of not going after them, ala Adair and Shoukri, that emboldens the rats. It is the offer of sweeteners that whets their appetites. The see weakness as an opportunity.

    SB: “As regards beatings, i dont know where that came from but anyone giving someone a beating must feel the full force of the law, innocent until proven guilty!”

    Except if they’re a political hood, in which case, if their important or connected enough, it is innocent even if proven guilty.

    Until the folks in N.I. have the guts to grasp the nettle and do the hard work of rooting out these hoods, its going to be more of the same.

    SB: “Lets hope the dead-line is met and 2010 is an even better year for our Peace Process. ”

    Here’s a test — hope in one hand and spit in the other and see which fills up first.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Dread Cthulhu

    To go in with “all guns blazing” could well lead to multiple deaths or PSNI Officers moving house etc., that would be the wrong way. I do believe that no crime should go unpunished but i think that a more measured approach should be used with such a large volatile group of people.

    You mentioned a couple of “hoods” that found “it too expensive to be” but the dogs in the street know who these people are but proof is required to put them behind bars. Over the years plenty of people from the Orange and Green tribes, who were known to have committed crimes, walked about freely because of no evidence or it was advantageous to let them walk, a necessity for fighting terrorism & dirty tricks galore.

    Its the mind-set that you want to take away because as you stated earlier, guns can be replaced, that is the same with all groups, what is needed is faith in human nature and for our Political people to start working together in a more progressive and much quicker manner than they have.

    The people of N.I. have grasped that nettle and are working to change our Country. People should look at the positive things that have happened instead of always looking at the past and stop analysing things that have not yet happened in a negative way!

    The spit is running through my fingers and my hope is building!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    SB: “To go in with “all guns blazing” could well lead to multiple deaths or PSNI Officers moving house etc., that would be the wrong way.”

    There is a world of difference between making a serious effort to dismantle these groups and “going in with all guns blazing,” so quit being simple. Dithering, bribing hoods, that is the wrong way.

    SB: “I do believe that no crime should go unpunished but i think that a more measured approach should be used with such a large volatile group of people.”

    A lily-livered “pay the hoods not to be hoods” isn’t going to do a damn thing to either punish or deter the crooks. So why waste time doing that, when the real solution — real investigations, real prosecutions and real sentences — is both obvious and necessary?

    SB: “You mentioned a couple of “hoods” that found “it too expensive to be” but the dogs in the street know who these people are but proof is required to put them behind bars.”

    Sure, but that requires the PSNI and the Prosecutor’s Service pulling their thumbs of out the collective metaphorical asses and actually doing something. Likewise, there’s more than one way to skin a cat and these hoods are essentially lazy. For starters, just off the cuff, I can think of a half-dozen ways to start raising the cost of being one of these hoods, starting with a tax audit — hey, it was good enough for Al Capone, is should be good enough for this collection of spides. Any of them own businesses? Fire inspections, health inspections, another tax audit — bureaucracy is a wonderful game and I’m willing to wager that the spides aren’t not nearly as good as professionals. Hoods aren’t the only ones with dirty tricks — mine even have the benefit of being legal.

    SB: “Its the mind-set that you want to take away because as you stated earlier, guns can be replaced, that is the same with all groups, what is needed is faith in human nature and for our Political people to start working together in a more progressive and much quicker manner than they have.”

    Bollocks — “progressive” approaches seem to lack, well, progress. The hoods are still distributing the drugs and extorting from the populace. The only way to change the game is to teach the populace that the police and the prosecutors are going to treat these crooks seriously, something they’ve been loath to do — look at the shower they made of the Shoukris.

    SB: “The people of N.I. have grasped that nettle and are working to change our Country.”

    Mayhap, but the police and the prosecutors clearly haven’t gotten the memo… let alone the collection of crooks, shnook and mooks that hold political power. Paying the hoods not to be hoods merely serves to put money in the hoods pockets while the hoods go about their same old same old.

    SB: “The spit is running through my fingers and my hope is building!”

    I’m going to play nice and not take the obvious responses.

    Hope is nice, but just sitting their and hoping isn’t going to accomplish a thing.