Catching up with Dawn Purvis

Often it feel like Slugger has a love/hate relationship with Dawn Purvis. The annual judging process is quick to give her awards, while critical commenters are even faster to cast doubt on her political credibility, particularly over the timing of her departure from the PUP last year to become an independent MLA.

If you ask me, deep down Dawn Purvis is a political anorak who could carve out a career as a party strategist or advisor. While conveniently fitting her positive self-belief about her re-election chances, I realise that her analysis and explanation of how the other parties around her in East Belfast are approaching the upcoming election (and in some cases playing into each others’ hands) is certainly more sophisticated and well-constructed than most of the commentators who get paid to write columns in the local press.

But talking to Dawn earlier today, it was clear that she has no intention of becoming a part-time pundit or party advisor. Instead, she is confident that she’ll be re-elected to the Assembly in May.

She suggests that four years ago “people didn’t really know who I was at the time of the last election as I didn’t really have a track record in East Belfast but I’d like to think that over the last four years my record stands on its own and I think people will see that through hard graft and sticking to my principles and what I believe that I’ve done my best to represent the people”.

Her independence means that she’s “not boxed in by any party policy and can focus specifically on local issues” and have a constituency focus. She can “choose to look at big picture issues if I want but I’m not expected to be a Jacqueline of all trades and mistress of none”.

Dawn highlights the continuing educational underachievement in protestant working class areas and says that the DUP and UUP have done “absolutely nothing” about the issue.

Asked about her sense of where the UVF are in their journey towards non-violence Dawn simply answers “I don’t know, I’ve no idea”, refusing to speculate in more detail.

I made a decision last June based on the information available to me at that time that I thought that the statement of intent that they had issued in May 2007 and subsequent to that their act of decommissioning but then followed by the murder of Bobby Moffett was a clear intent to me that there were individuals within that organisation who were never going away. So I made my decision to resign at that time, so I don’t know.

Despite early promise, Dawn’s own private members bill (seeking to eliminate double jobbing between local councils and the Assembly) ran aground. Last night, John McCallister’s caravanning bill was completed and became the first private members bill to negotiate the legislative assault course since 1948.

A complete session of the Assembly with no suspensions and yet only one private members bill passed seems a tad lethargic? Dawn disagrees and points to comments in the chamber last night that compared the Assembly with other UK legislatures that also have low volumes of private members bills.

Asked about the achievements she is most proud of over the last four years, Dawn quickly compiles a list:

Track record in the constituency. Networking with the community and voluntary sector. Being chair of the all party group on children and young people and pushing those issues up the agenda within government departments. The working group I established to look at educational underachievement, particularly within protestant working class boys. My bill on double jobbing, although at this point we don’t know how successful that has been as we’ve still to table final stage. I think overall the four years has been quite a learning experience and I’ve certainly gained in my knowledge of the issues that affect my constituents and I hope that I’ve represented them well.

Earlier today – about half a mile away from Dawn’s constituency office – Tom Elliott outlined his ideas around the review of the Stormont administration and the possibilities for parties to be in opposition in 2015. Dawn recalled her advice to the SDLP and UUP after the 2007 election not to take up the three ministerial positions offered to them and to “work together with the other smaller parties in the Assembly to form a constructive opposition”.

I think the past four years would have been better spent by those parties in forming an opposition. Their electoral gains this time around would be looking a lot more hopeful than what they are at the minute. But we need to evolve our structures in the Assembly. I think constructive opposition is a good thing. With [just] a few individuals it’s much more difficult because you lack the combined resources of parties.

Alliance are running two candidates to pick up on any bounce from Naomi Long’s success at the Westminster elections. The DUP are a lot more confident than this time last year. The UUP haven’t quite given up – though running three candidates in East Belfast may be self destructive. And the PUP are running Brian Irvine. I asked Dawn if she felt squeezed?

No I don’t. I think it’s all to play for. I think every candidate that runs will be going after every single vote. I don’t feel squeezed. I think maybe some of the other parties need to review their strategy in light of the last four years and even in light of the last year. I think that maybe some of them are basing their strategy on figures that may not add up at an Assembly election particularly when you are running different candidates.

I think the field is wide open. I think it’s anyone’s for the taking and it’s up to me when I’m going around the doors to convince people that they should vote for me.

(One of a series of interviews with representatives from smaller parties. No doubt, one of a series of posts whose comments will end up debating the likely makeup of East Belfast’s six seats! )

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  • Pete Baker

    “critical commenters are even faster to cast doubt on her political credibility, particularly over the timing of her departure from the PUP last year to become an independent MLA.”

    I wonder why that is…

  • joeCanuck

    Going from the specific to the general, how effective are individuals in making successful legislative change?

  • The problem with the achievements that Dawn lists is that they are the very definition of vague. What do any of the things she has listed translate to in measurable terms?

  • Votes?

  • Turgon

    I am not an expert on Marxism nor am I a Marxist; I have mentioned this previously in person to Paul Evans and am unclear on his views on it.

    However, I would suggest that Dawn Purvis is far from a representative of the working class (proletariat). The working class unionist population have been oppressed for years by the loyalist thugs to whom they have given very little political support: the thugs whom Purvis was political mouthpiece for years until her sudden “conversion”.

    Most working class unionists clearly would much rather the loyalist terrorists would go away. The loyalist terrorists have been one of the major reasons why some of the unionist working class areas of Belfast have becoem sink estates: they are not teh only reason and decline of manufacturing etc. is highly relevant but the loyalist terrorists have been a major part of the dynamic of decay.

    It is noteworthy that most working class unionists who can have moved out of areas like the Shankill and moved to the outskirts of North Belfast or the less inner city parts of East Belfast or vene the country towns. In those areas the support for loyalist terrorist supporting parties is evenm lower if that is possible.

    Far from supporting the working class, Purvis has supported “swindlers, confidence tricksters, brothel-keepers, rag-and-bone merchants, beggars, and other flotsam of society” – that the definition of the lumpenproletariat.

    To quote Marx himself on the subject:

    “social scum,—are not only disinclined to participate in revolutionary activities with their “rightful brethren,” the proletariat, but also tend to act as the “bribed tools of reactionary intrigue.”

    Both the above definitions seem to sum up the people for whom Purvis was a mouth piece until very recently.

    Also remember that the UVF murdered 23 people since their supposed ceasefire and Purvis stayed in the PUP before suddenly resigning over Bobby Moffett’s murder. Remember also that it seems certain that a UVF member was (along with others) involved in the murder and disappearence of Lisa Dorrian also whilst Purvis was in the PUP. It is in that light that Purvis’s claim that she is a representative of the working class or a champion for women should be judged.

  • SimpsonInBangor – To be fair, do bear in mind that I’d just sat down and Dawn had no idea what I was about to ask. I’m sure if you email her and ask for a list of achievements, you’ll get a response based on more than 2 seconds thought.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    An interesting article. When I first read it this morning, I was tempted to think that it was over the top in support of Dawn Purvis and certainly the “love-hate” reference is over the top…….but on reflection I tend to agree with it.
    I would not have done so a year ago.
    For the deepest of personal reasons I understandably have had little time for East Belfast loyalists….as indeed many have good reason to dislike South Armagh republicans. I have always been hostile to the PUP and when they first emerged from the shadows in the late 1990s I found them deeply unsettling.
    I was immune to the wordy charms of David Ervine. And found the Medias elevation of him to near sainthood …troubling. Ms Purvis is no David Ervine. And I mean that as a compliment.
    She stayed close to the UVF much too long for my personal taste but at least she finally broke that connexion. (Ervine never did that). And unlike Ervine, she has difficulty in convincingly saying two different things at the one time. I find that refreshing.
    As always, our distaste…hatred in extreme cases…..for politicians says more about our own obsessions as it does about the subject of our ire.
    Unlike the most hated of Sluggers targets, who is reviled by seemingly every commenter outside his own Party……Ms Purvis is actually reviled in “unionist” circles and is looked on favourably outside those circles.
    Yet I was immune to her popularity on Slugger.
    When I first find myself with enough time on my hands to visit Stormont, I thought Ms Purvis was out of her depth. And seemed a very lonely figure.
    People whose analysis Id normally admire told me that “Dawn was sound as a pound” but I found myself much too hostile but again this reflected MY prejudice that she was a working class girl who had been exposed to too much head patting by “wimmin” (sic) in Academia anxious to turn another Eliza Doolittle figure into a person just like them.
    To her immense credit, unlike other working class folks……Ms Purvis has challenged her past …her community…..without repudiating it. It took me far to long to appreciate that.
    On the only occasion that I ever found myself close enough to talk to her…some months ago……I surprised myself by actually approaching her and shaking her hand and telling her how much I admired her. Thankfully I didnt ask her for her autograph (to frame alongside Eric Cantona)
    So fair play to her.
    As to her electoral chances in May……she might have lost the Kneebreakers vote and will never be popular in the Belmont Bowling Club…but she might well reach out to get surprising second preferences from Short Strand (SF & SDLP alike). The Alliance challenge led by the ineffective (so far) Chris Lyttle is much weaker and she will appeal to people in a way that angst ridden “liberal” unionists wont.

    But if she is indeed a shrewd analyst, she will have worked out that losing her seat would not be the end of the world and would open up apolitical opportunities in a “family” type quango such as Patricia Lewsley (ex SDLP MLA) took up.
    Id be surprised if theres not already a file on her in the offices of the right people.

  • Alan, no doubt. As it happens I’m supportive of Dawn but don’t feel that particular answer was very good. She isn’t alone in that respect of course. Too many politicians deal in such vague terminology.

    Dawn would have had a list of objectives when she was trying to get elected. Why not review those objectives and tell the electorate how she did? Dawn and others should have this info ready to roll off the tongue. Demonstrating to voters that you actually work hard for them with tangible results is key.

  • Turgon,

    I’m not sure of the application of the notion of ‘lumpenproletariat’ to either the people who are likely to vote for Dawn next time, or those who voted for her previously. I say this because of the word ‘vote’ – the lumpenproletariat (not one of Marx’s more developed lines of thought) don’t vote.

    Whereas Marx saw them as not being instrumental in revolutionary change, Kautskyite social democrats would be similarly impatient of a class that don’t vote. I’d disagree with you about the role that the PUP played in developing the thinking of working class loyalists (I think it was a positive and necessary one that no-one else could have done) and I think that their class-consciousness – the realisation that ‘big-house Unionism’ would forever abuse the trust of working-class protestants – was an important object-lesson in anti-Fascism.

    I’d argue that the political isolation of the PUP and even the actual active paramilitaries themselves would serve to shield the wider Unionist political class from the well-founded arguments that they bear *some* responsibility in cultivating violent loyalism. As far as I can see it (only as a reader of history books and not a first-hand witness) there was a fair amount of irresponsible demagoguery from sections of the Free Presbytarian clergy and outfits like the Ulster Vanguard.

    Many former loyalist gunmen were happy to tell interviewers about how the good Reverend Paisley acted as an inspiration to them in their early days.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    The only thing that “isolated” the PUP was the fact that a very small minority of (unionist) people voted for it. Neither the unionist “political class” or the vast majority of unionists need to “shield” themselves from responsibility for “cultivating violent loyalism”.

    The pleas of “loyalist gunmen” or another criminal as to others responsibility for their crimes, should they be about daddy not loving them enough or mummy not buying them the birthday present they really wanted, or even that a big boy told them to do it and then ran away, have no value and are simply an attempt to deflect from their own guilt.

  • Turgon

    Thanks for reply. To extend my limited understanding of Marxism: I am not accusing Purvis’s voters of being the lumpenproletariat. I am calling Purvis and the PUP / UVF the lumpenproletariat and suggesting that they are actually a blight on the true proletariat. Thos in the proletariat who vote for her are presumably victims of false conciousness.

    Alternatively in less analytical terms that Purvis was a mouth piece and cheerleader for terrorists from 1994 until 2010: that is 15 years: longer than the last Labour government; as long as it is since I left university; longer than most life sentence prisoners get. then Purvis has a sudden “conversion” to realising that murdering people is what the UVF do and that she should cease to be involved with them. I regard it as rank hypocrisy on her part.

    How was Bobby Moffett’s death more important than Loughinisland or the murders of all the other two dozen and more people murdered since their ceasefire by the UVF. Why was the feminist unwilling to speak out against the prostitution rackets run by the UVF. Why did the supporter of children’s rights complain when Billy Hutchinson was arrested over with holding information over the murder of a child (oh of course young Devlin was a Catholic so I guess that made it less important). I guess that was also why Purvis remained so silent over Lisa Dorrian’s murder: her being a Catholic.

    No Purvis is no working class hero: she is the blood stained cheerleader for a pack of murderous sectarian thugs: the fact that she is lionised by certain liberals simply shows their failure to take a moral stand and call a criminal’s cheerleader for what she is.

    The fact that she no longer cheer leads as actively does not mean that the blood which has stuck to her from her association with murderers has washed off: that will take a whole lot longer and more than a “conversion” after 15 years.

  • Turgon

    On a separate topic it is interesting that Purvis made no attempt in Alan’s interview to claim that she and the PUP were separate from the UVF. She did not try to distance her 15 / 16 year pre resignation existence from the sectarian bully boys but rather claimed to have made a decision after Bobby Moffett’s murder. Strange how she could not see exactly the same thing after each of the previous murders or indeed before she joined the PUP.

    Lastly where does this leave our rather invisible “Christian GP” friend John Kyle. If Purvis had courage for leaving the cheer leaders after 15 years what has Kyle for staying with them and that even after the PUP decided to remain linked to the UVF against what Kyle claimed were his wishes?

  • Jo

    Typical TUV, eh? Delete posts that point out the hypocrisy of your position…

  • Turgon

    I believe Mick deleted your post seeing as it was a completely untrue statement about Jim Allister. Committing libel against a senior QC who has an interest in libel law would seem to be a pretty spectacularly stupid idea and I presume Mick felt that if you had a particular wish to get yourself sued he did not want to join you.

  • dennis the menace

    Committing libel against a senior QC who has an interest in libel law would seem to be a pretty spectacularly stupid idea……

    but not as spectaculary stupid as losing every election you have fought under TUV

  • Stephen Blacker

    This was an interesting interview with one of the hardest working MLA’s at Stormont. It is obvious that Dawn’s efforts as a politician are for the good of society in Northern Ireland and I am sure that the East Belfast electorate will not miss out in having such an asset returned to the collective on the hill.

  • JAH


    The fact Dawn managed to ensure that the TUV’s East Belfast candidate was thoroughly humiliated in last year’s election by the proles has nothing to do with your post.

    She really rattle’s the TUV cage!

  • Turgon

    Your profile states that you are lost between London and Belfast. As part of that being lost apart from your inability to work out where to put apostrophes, you also seem to have failed to notice that Purvis did not stand in the Westminster election. She took no part in the election which indeed resulted in the very poor showing which I agree the TUV suffered in East Belfast.

    However, my loathing for Purvis has nothing whatsoever to do with her involvement in David Vance’s heavy defeat (humiliation to use your term: it is a fairly reasonable one). No my loathing for Purvis centres purely and simply on her cheer leading for and support of a bunch of loathsome sectarian murderers who killed men, women and children and have continued with drug dealing, prostitution rackets, protection rackets and other forms of organised criminality as well as continued murder.

    Until a scarce few months ago Purvis kept telling us the UVF were transitioning to a peaceful future. However, after so much time, so many deaths and so much misery it has been clear for years (nay decades) that the UVF are unreformable and that Purvis’s sudden change of heart is completely self serving and bogus: related to her desperate hope to hold onto her seat and if she fails get a nice quango job rather than any care whatsoever about the working class of East Belfast. As I said above lumpenproletariat seems a good description of her and her until so recently best friends.

  • Stephen Blacker

    (Part of my earlier post was missing)

    I do believe Dawn was and still is the only politician to be invited back onto Talk Back on Radio Ulster by popular demand. Her work in helping to bridge gaps between the two main communities has been a great success and everyone that has taken the time to meet and talk to this MLA have been been very impressed.

    The thing that has impressed me the most about this exceptionally strong woman is her ability to take vile unwarranted remarks that demonise her personally and politically and continue working for the betterment of the whole of society and even the very people that baulk when they say her name. This in itself is testimony to a steadfast determination and a strength that can only be a benefit to any constituency.

    In Dawn’s words she is not scared “to step outside the box” if more politicians did this our wee country would be an even better place than what it is now. The voters in East Belfast have shown recently that they are willing and able to vote for people that can deliver so with that in mind they will do Dawn proud.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Turgon (11.12pm) mentions the possibility that Ms Purvis getting “a nice quango job” if she fails to get elected in May.
    It does not appear to be a scenario that Turgon likes.

    Earlier (1.35pm) I raised this scenario myself but let me make it absolutely clear that a quango position for Ms Purvis is NOT a scenario I dread. Indeed her talents might be be put to better use in a apolitical role. It would be a welcome departure from the usual regular cast of deadbeats who are appointed to quangos.

  • fitzjameshorse1745 – Dawn was pretty categorical that she’s aiming to get back to the Assembly. No notion of settling for anything else.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed….and as I noted above that might well be possible. In losing the Kneebreaker vote, she gains others……and Naomi Long in Westminster reduces the Alliance challenge (although they are hopeful of two seats) as Chris Lyttle has made little or no impact. (I think Ms Cochrane is the more likely)……oops as you predicted this should not become a thread on the six winners in May.

    But I think that Ms Purvis would not rule out a quango post IF she failed to be elected.
    It would be remiss of the Appointments people not to have her details on file.

  • Turgon

    That is a lie and we both know it. You made a specific allegation that Jim Allister had done something which he had not done and it can easily be proved that what you said is untrue. Your removed post made no reference to what you are now claiming it did.

    Hence, you were lying about Jim Allister: as I said above not a very sensible thing to do and I have absolutely no doubt that that is why Mick removed your post. Hence, it is your now lying about the lies you told previously which is empty.

  • Jo – it’s a post primarily about Dawn and the upcoming election. Not about the TUV and the previous election in which Dawn didn’t run. As my daughter’s primary school teacher would say – “stay on task”!

  • Turgon

    Philip Blacker
    You stated this about Dawn Purvis: “Her work in helping to bridge gaps between the two main communities has been a great success “

    Since you are raising her “work” we must look at it in its entireity. Therefore how did joinng the PUP at the time of the Heights Bar murders in Loughinisland help bridge any gaps? Then there were all the other murders which the UVF committed and Purvis was willing to excuse both before and after the so called UVF ceasefire.

    Not forgetting Purvis, the champion of women’s rights who has shown little interest in the murder (by a UVF man by all accounts) of Lisa Dorrian. Purvis has not said much on that: maybe because Lisa Dorrian was a Catholic?

    Also Purvis the champion of children’s rights who condemned the arrest of her former friend and colleague (and convicted child murderer) Billy Hutchinson. Hutchinson was arrested over with holding evidence about the murder of Thomas Devlin, a child. Again there Purvis seeemd more interested in a child murderer than a murdered child. That said the child in question was a Catholic so again I suppose it is to be expected of Purvis.

    Purvis was best summed up by the late Horseman: I agreed with few of his views but this one was spot on.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    I called you Phillip: my mistake; not that it changes the comment much.

  • Turgon – post the Horseman link into a comment and I’ll edit your comment to fix the dead link.

  • Stephen Blacker


    When you say, “we must look at it in its entireity” I agree, Dawn has been to numerious cross community events before and since it became common place in the unionist community. Being well recieved in all walks of life just proves the high regard Ms. Purvis is held by people that take the time to talk to and learn about her visions and aspiriations and not rely on hearsay & stereotyping.

    There is so much to the efforts and committments of Dawn Purvis and every one is aimed at making Northern Ireland a better place for all groups to coexist in a united society. Dawn is a staunch supporter of women’s rights, as you stated, that is unfortunately a necassary stance for equality that has not been achieved in many areas of ordinary life even in this day and age.

    The points you raised above have been put to me a number of times before and my answers to you were not excepted. I must say that your comment about the mentioned young lady is disgraceful & again proves to me that you know very little about Dawn Purvis, to imply that religion, race or colour makes a difference to Ms. Purvis in highlighting a crime only exposes you as desperate to demonise on any occasion & opportunity.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    Yes disgraceful to point out the women’s rights champion’s lack of interest in the right to life of Lisa Dorrian or the right to justice (or even a decent burial for their loved one) for her family. Where is Purvis helping them: nowhere; as I said Ms. Dorrian was a Catholic.

    Then there is the murder of Thomas Devlin. Purvis the champion of children’s rights was not championing the rights of the murdered child nor his family’s rights to justice: no she was championing the rights of a child murderer instead. Again Thomas Devlin was a Catholic.

    In addition of course Purvis the cross community activist joined the PUP when the UVF were murdering Catholics at Loughinisland.

    To be fair though she was also happy to stay in the UVF [Ed – asusming you meant to say “PUP”] for about 20-30 murders post ceasefire and most of those were Protestants whose murders she did not care about. In addition the women’s and children’s champion was disinterested in the UVF’s drug selling to children, running prostitution rackets and all the rest of their organised criminality. Apart from telling us over more than a decade that her friends were transitioning towards peace; thereby trying to give the loathsome bigots some form of credibility.

    Alan you asked me to repeat the link from the Horseman: I will try to again:

    The PUP – saints and scholars.

  • Turgon

    I think it works now.

  • Stephen Blacker


    It is very easy to cast doubt on the integrity of Ms. Purvis when you make assumptions, with your own admission you have never even talked to this MLA but you are an expert on everything she does or does not do in your wee world.

    According to what Ms. Purvis has said in interviews over the years she joined the PUP to help find a better way for this country and help to stop the all types of crime & murderous activity. When a crime or murder is condemned it is only excepted by you if you approve of the person saying it.

    I see that in your eagerness to repeat another frenzied rant you have Ms. Purvis in the UVF proving again that you will write anything for effect to discredit people that you do not know or want to know to prove “whatever” to yourself.

    Shame on me for giving you another opportunity to say such nasty claptrap about a genuinely good politician, ironically that same politician would defend your right to freedom of speech. I have no doubt that you will continue with your self arousing venomous rants about those that do not conform to your way of thinking, to that all I can say is – ignorance is bliss!

  • Jo

    “you will write anything for effect to discredit people that you do not know or want to know to prove “whatever” to yourself. ”

    Quite, Stephen, Brian Walker would have the same view. For the record, despite his posts, I wrote nothing defamatory whatsoever about Jim Allister, but linked to a website of a prominent TUV member to demonstrate their views.

    I can’t vote for Dawn right now, but if I could, I would. I would do so as many others do and did, to encourage people to seek a peaceful road to settling political difference. Anger and bitterness at the success of other politicians in achieveing settlement is what drives the TUV, nothing positive. Dawn has more talent in her little finger than in their entire rank and file. TUV-ers posting on blogs like this demonstrate that, day and daily.

  • Turgon

    You did write something specifically libellous which is why Mick removed it. Lie all you like but that is the fact of the matter.

    Stephen Blacker,
    I cast doubt on Purvis’s integrity by pointing to the things she has done and not done. This the supporter of children and women’s rights who supported the child murderer Billy Hutchinson yet ignored the murdered Catholic child Thomas Devlin. Supported the prostitution racket running UVF for years yet ignored the murdered Catholic woman Lisa Dorrian.

    I point to the fact that Purvis joined the UVF the year they ran into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland and gunned down six people: that from the supposed opponent of sectarianism. [Ed – you mean, joined the PUP?]

    I point to the fact that she stayed with the PUP for years whilst the UVF murdered between 20 and 30 people before leaving after they murdered Bobby Moffett.

    Why exactly Purvis left at that point is open to debate but integrity is an extremely unlikely reason. She now desperate to try to hold her seat (or get a quango job) will try to pretend she is a new anti sectarian person. Unfortunately for her the blood which her friends in the UVF have spilled has stuck to her: hopefully it will end her political career.

  • Turgon

    On this issue of not having talked to Dawn Purvis which you seem so interested in. If I were lauding Purvis would you be complaining that I thought highly of her having not met her?

    As it is no I have not discussed politics with her but her views and actions speak for themselves. The recent pseudo progressive views must be set against her cheerleading support for child murderers, pimps, drug dealers and sectarian bigots.

    Furthermore I have not met a large number of politicians yet am able to form an opinion of their positions from what they have said and done. I have never met Adams, McGuinness and equally have not met Peter Robinson or Sammy Wilson. That is the nature of politics: one cannot meet all the political representatives and equally they cannot meet all their potential voters. The solution to this problem is to read, watch TV etc.

    I doubt Stephen you have met all the politicians of whom you have formed an opinion: that is perfectly legitimate and I would not criticise you for it but equally your claim against me has absolutely no validity.

  • The phrase “You can only usurp from within” springs to mind in explaining Dawn’s time in the PUP.

  • Turgon

    That might be fair in some circumstances but in Purvis’s case it does not wash.

    The PUP were inextricably linked with the UVF when Purvis joined (they still are). Did she decide to “usurp from within” when she saw them murder six people in the Heights Bar?

    Her “usurping” continued from 1994 to 2010 during which time the UVF continued to murder dozens of people despite their claimed ceasefire; failed to decommission for years and when they did clearly did not completely; ran protection, prostitution and drug rackets and took part in the Shankill feud which saw hundreds put out of their homes.

    During all that time her “usurping” actually was giving cover, justifying the unjustifiable, supporting child murderers etc. etc.

    I think some decent people are taken in by her moderate face and claims to be some sort of champion for left wing and progressive causes. Behind that, however, the reality is that she was the mouth piece for unrepentant sectarian thugs and murderers and now having supposedly left them seems disinclined to try to stop her former friends. As such her integrity is not even skin deep.

    To regard her as trying to “usurp” the PUP and make them reasonable is about the same as saying that Nick Griffin is trying to usurp and moderate the BNP: that is of course Griffin’s claim but only the truly gullible or irredeemably racist show any interest in that.

  • I do think she was looking to change the out look/stance of those within the party and when she realised that she had been led up the garden path she walked.
    I’m pretty sure she had plenty of sleepless nights as regards her involvement with the men behind the scenes.
    Having had to deal with some of the “community representatives” as aprt of a couple of workshops i know that they say one thing and mean something else totally.

  • Turgon


    We will not agree on this and I respect you but respectfully feel you are wrong on this one.

    I think the idea she was trying to move them is fallacious: she joined (and hence, was junior and in no way able to move their position) when the UVF were murdering people in the Heights Bar. If she so disapproved of loyalist murder why join as the assault rifles were shrieking in Louginisland?

    To paint her as some sort of lone voice or almost lone voice of reason is I feel typical of decent people trying to find some way of reconciling her claimed support for progressive causes with her previous support for bigoted sectarian murder, drug dealing etc. It is much much more likely that she is a clever supporter of sectarian thuggery who knows that she must pretend to be otherwise to ensure her political survival and in the event of losing the election, getting an alternative snout in trought typed job.

    I know it offends Godwin’s Law but she seems very like Albert Speer in all this. He was the supposed good Nazi who said sorry and disowned the crimes of the past despite claiming to have had no knowledge of them. He achieved his aim: saving his neck and then went on to a whole career as a supposedly decent man. More recent analysis suggests that actually he was almost as guilty as the rest and was simply cleverer in ensuring his survival.

  • Thats the end of that conversation then 🙂

  • Jo

    MP, I agree completely with your last post on Dawn’s relations with the UVF.

    Politically motivated slurring is what a certain party does well, here and elsewhere but thats the full extent of what they have to offer – Dawn has much more to offer the people of east Belfast and NI generally and no amount of bitter posting from anonymous posters will alter that.

  • Stephen Blacker


    Thank you for your input to this thread, I am sure that Dawn Purvis would appreciate your support in any form and I hope you tell your friends abut her.

    Sorry I never saw the post about the TUV Leader but if Mick took it off it must have stepped over the line. I am sure you would not have intentionally ment to be defamatory and there is a fine line between what you can say and cant.

    The TUV have taken a good kickng, political speaking, over the past while and I hope they will this time around too.

  • Stephen Blacker


    I must say that your quest for sound-bites is excellent, well done, it is just a pity it is untrue garbage, but then again it has not stopped you dreaming and spewing it before. Race, colour, religion, age or gender means nothing to Dawn Purvis when she deals with an issue or person.

    It is brilliant the way you connect children’s rights to a brutal murder of a child then women’s rights with the disappearance of a beautiful young woman. Some fantastic sound-bites, no doubt your TUV mates will hold you high, I just hope you had your splash guard on the keyboard.

    Never at anytime in Dawn Purvis’s life or political career has she ever supported sectarian crimes of any kind or any of the long list of crimes carried out by loyalist groups. When you repeat this drivel time & time & time again it only exposes your blind hatred.

    All politicians are fair game for ridicule and taunting when it is justified, it is the nature of politics and they put themselves out there. My annoyance towards your comments is when you imply Ms. Purvis is sectarian, in the UVF, supporter of murder and crime etc., this is blatantly untrue and you say all this when you have never even met the woman. Maybe you should read different newspapers and watch different TV channels.

    According to Dawn’s interviews over the years she stayed with the PUP to make a difference to the Troubles here and it was brothers, fathers, uncle’s & cousins from within her own community that were doing the killing and being killed not faceless people from outside – there had to be a better way. No one is saying, as far as I am aware, that Dawn is a lone voice, at every turn progressive people within the PUP cried out for help from any source that would listen, what they wanted to achieve could not be done by themselves.

    If I had a choice of politician to be in my corner for any debate or arguement Dawn Prvis would be my choice everytime, someone who calls it as it is telling people what they need to hear not what they want to here.

  • Jo

    Well said Stephen, I agree with every word.

    Mr T’s views on the outright racism spouted by his party’s economy spokeman are notable by their absence, but then the members of that party have only the most exiguous interest in principle or consistency. Dawn Purvis, David Ervine and others moved on from a dark place to enlightenment and sought to bring others with them, but the TUV remain there and seek to drag the rest of us back. The anguish of their position is heightened by the fact that these eunuchs can’t have the relationship with Loyalist paramilitarism that many political figures did have until the latter caught themselves on. Perhaps a time machine could transport the TUV back to 1974? – I recall similar tripe in the 70s and 80s, but thankfully the rest of us have entered a new century.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    All your spinning (at which you are poor) does not change a few salient facts.

    The PUP is linked to the UVF. Dawn Purvis joined the PUP at the time they were gunning down people in a public house in Loughinisland for being Catholics: that was a fundamentally sectarian crime. Purvis joining a party linked to such sectarian murders tarnishes her with the brush of being a sectarian bigot.

    Whilst she was a member of the PUP the UVF continued to murder people. Indeed she rose in the ranks of the PUP as the UVF continued the murdering. Whilst she was leader the PUP continued the murdering.

    Whilst she was senior in the PUP a member of the UVF murdered Lisa Dorrian a Catholic: Purvis did little or nothing about it. I cannot remember any statement or work from her on the Dorrian family’s behalf.

    Whilst Purvis was leader of the PUP a convicted child murderer one Billy Hutchinson (also a PUP member) was arrested in connection with the murder of a Catholic child Thomas Devlin (he was accused of with holding information). Purvis’s response was to condemn the arrest of the double child murderer.

    That is the reality of Purvis the champion of women and children’s rights. Not to mention the fact that the UVF continue to sell drugs to children and run brothels which exploit women.

    If Purvis was opposed to sectarian crimes she could have joined any number of groups and political parties. Amongst the least credible to join if that was her aim was the UVF mouth piece PUP yet that is the organisation she joined, rose to prominence in and eventually led whilst all the time the UVF kept on killing. Then she finally left over the murder a former loyalist prisoner Bobby Moffett. Strange that she did not leave the PUP over the murder of Lisa Dorrian or Thomas Devlin: then again maybe not; they were Catholics.

  • Stephen Blacker


    Please please please give your information to the PSNI about the murder of Ms. Dorrian and do it NOW!!! This disgraceful murder has left her family in pieces with a wall of silence at every turn. With you knowing it was the UVF it would be a new line of inquiry for them.

    The only reason Ms. Purvis complained about the arrest of Mr. Hutchinson was because he could have been talked to without arrest.

    For Dawn to join another political party would have gone against her social or constitutional values with what was available. The principle aim of the PUP with Dawn and others at the helm was to get the UVF / RHC to be no more not to give reason for their actions, an extremely difficult task and an easy one to criticise from afar.

    Maybe when you refere to UVF murders after the ceasefires in 1994 you should direct your attention towards MI5 because, according to the Police Ombudsman, they gave a licence to murder to individuals.

    Spin, no, honesty, yes.

  • Stephen Blacker


    Well said yourself, some people are narrow minded it is a wonder that there is a form of peace here at all. Thank goodness some people stepped outside their comfort zone and did the work that others were afraid to do. No one is going to drag us back. To snipe from outside is easy to lead is the hard bit.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    Not being in the UVF or PUP I have no useful information to give to the police: if I did I would do so immediately. On the other hand having been in the PUP Dawn Purvis might well have useful information on the UVF. There has been no sign of her giving any such information to the police not even since her supposed fit of conscience and leaving.

    No sign either of her making much of an issue of the murder of this young woman. Then again of course the murdered woman was a catholic and she was murdered it seems by the UVF so no surprise there in terms of Purvis’s lack of interest.

    On the Thomas Devlin murder: The fact that the convicted child murderer whom she supported had useful information seems likely, him having been arrested over with holding information on the murder of Thomas Devlin. The fact that Purvis opposed that arrest speaks volumes.

    If Purvis’s aim had been to make the UVF go away why her appearing at press conferences etc. with them? Furthermore you have never explained why she joined the PUP the same year as their terrorist other halves murdered six people for being Catholics: hardly the actions of someone committed to making them go away, nor those of someone opposed to sectarianism.

  • Stephen Blacker


    You are a total disgrace using that young lady’s murder to make a point and in turn add to the pain of her family, do your research before posting utter shit.

    I will not repeat myself again as it does not seem to sink into your closed mind but if Billy Hutchinson is guilty of withholding information he must be treated with the full force of the law.

    On your last point, Dawn has explained why she joined as I have already told you but again it still does not satisfy you so I cant see any point in trying to educate you on the realities of Conflict Resolution. You just like to write nasty things about certain people without any regard to truth.

    Stereotyping, innuendos, insinuations and animosity are not a good combination when attempting to have a rational debate, something you have in abundance on the subject of certain people. You have proved it here as you have done in other occasions that you have no interest in listening to answers given.

    The people of East Belfast will continue to see Dawn Purvis as a brilliant politician and make sure she is successful in the election in May. Stormont need hard working women on the hill and Ms. Purvis can do them proud.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    You can cry all you like but there are some simple facts

    Dawn Purvis champion of women’s rights: no interest in the murder of a young catholic woman it seems by the UVF.

    Dawn Purvis champion of children’s rights: supported a child murderer when arrested about with holding information on a murdered child. The child in question being a Catholic.

    As to Purvis joining the PUP to help conflict resolution: what total nonsense. In 1994 the UVF were not proposing a ceasefire: they were murdering people. They killed 24 people the year Purvis joined them more than any year since 1976. So in actual fact one could point out that Purvis’s joining the PUP coincided with a rise in the murderous behaviour of their other halves

    From Sutton the list of people killed by the UVF the year Purvis decided to join the PUP:

    Cormac McDermott (31) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot at his home, Fisherwick Gardens, Ballymena, County Antrim.

    Mark Sweeney (31) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Taxi driver. Found shot in his car, Ballyreagh Road, Newtownards, County Down.

    Sean McParland (55) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Red Hand Commando (RHC)
    Died seven days after being shot, while in relatives home, Skegoneill Avenue, Belfast.

    Francis Brown (38) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Killed by booby trap bomb, hidden in concrete block under his parked lorry, Obins Street, Portadown, County Armagh.

    Margaret Wright (31) Protestant
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Red Hand Commando (RHC)
    Found shot in the backyard of an unoccupied house, Donegall Avenue, Village, Belfast. Her body was found on 7 April 1994. Assumed to have been a Catholic.

    Ian Hamilton (21) Protestant
    Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Found shot on playing field, off Agnes Close, Shankill, Belfast. Alleged to have been involved in the killing of Margaret Wright on 7 April 1994.

    James Brown (47) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, at his shop, Garmoyle Street, Docks, Belfast.

    Rose Anne Mallon (76) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, at her relatives home, Cullenramer Road, Greystone, near Dungannon, County Tyrone.

    Martin Bradley (23) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
    Shot, at his relatives home, Crumlin Road, Ardoyne, Belfast.

    Eamon Fox (42) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, while sitting in stationary car, at his workplace, building site, North Queen Street, Tigers Bay, Belfast.

    Gary Convie (24) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, while sitting in stationary car, at his workplace, building site, North Queen Street, Tigers Bay, Belfast.

    Gavin McShane (17) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, while in taxi depot, Lower English Street, Armagh.

    Martin Doherty (35) Catholic
    Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, attempting to stop bomb attack on The Widow Scallans Bar, Pearse Street, Dublin. Sinn Fein (SF) function at the Bar.

    Maurice O’Kane (50) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Found shot at his workplace, Harland and Wolff shipyard, Harbour Estate, Belfast.

    Gerald Brady (27) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Taxi driver. Found shot in his car, Blackthorn Park, Sunnylands, Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

    Cecil Dougherty (30) Protestant
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack on workers hut, Rushpark, off Shore Road, Newtownabbey, County Antrim. Assumed to have been a Catholic.

    William Corrigan (32) Protestant
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack on workers hut, Rushpark, off Shore Road, Newtownabbey, County Antrim. Assumed to have been a Catholic. He died 10 July 1994.

    Adrian Rogan (34) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack, on The Heights Bar, Loughinisland, County Down.

    Malcolm Jenkinson (52) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack, on The Heights Bar, Loughinisland, County Down.

    Barney Greene (87) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack, on The Heights Bar, Loughinisland, County Down.

    Daniel McCreanor (59) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack, on The Heights Bar, Loughinisland, County Down.

    Patrick O’Hare (35) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack, on The Heights Bar, Loughinisland, County Down.

    Eamon Byrne (39) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, during gun attack, on The Heights Bar, Loughinisland, County Down.

    Kathleen O’Hagan (38) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Shot, at her home, Barony Road, Greencastle, near Omagh, County Tyrone.

    Sean McDermott (37) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
    Found shot, in his car, off Old Ballynoe Road, near Antrim.

  • Jo

    Wow! She killed all those people? I had NO idea….

    Shame on you for using dead people for your political argument.

    Typical TUV, always pointing out other peoples pain, but obviously not experiencing enough of it on a personal level.

  • [Ed – Ill-tempered dispute between two commenters removed]