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.”
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.