OFMDFM: “We would ask everyone to give the official the time and space to conduct this work…”

The reaction of our indigenous administration to two nights of violence in east Belfast that was, according to the PSNI, at least partly orchestrated by the UVF in the area and included shootings by still-violent republicans and loyalists? 

Intensive face-to-face discussions “involving community leaders, police and senior loyalist and republican representatives” [dissenting ones? – Ed], and the subsequent appointment of an un-named “senior government offical” tasked with identifying “areas of concern”.  From the BBC report

Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness said they have appointed an official to engage urgently with the communities in the Newtownards Road and Short Strand.

“We would ask everyone to give the official the time and space to conduct this work,” they said.

“The official has been asked to bring back a report promptly and make recommendations as to how problems in the area can be addressed.

“By working with local communities and agencies we want to ensure that interface issues are tackled across Belfast.”

There’s a £4million ‘contested space’ programme just waiting for a pilot area…

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  • alan56

    There is a very thin moral line between genuinely addressing social depravation in some areas and sending out the signal that violence pays. I hope our political leaders get the balance right or this will not be the last of it. Fingers crossed.

  • carnmoney.guy

    Has anyone seen Naomi ?

    It appears that when the going gets tough, the Alliance get hiding….not a mention about her. If I was her I would rent in London instead of buying.

  • socaire

    Naomi was on earlier today and ‘can’t understand why people carry on like this’. I presume she means rioting and not voting Alliance.

  • socaire

    Right, Pete. How can I carry a yellow card from one thread to another? Am I intrinsically yellowcarded from now on? Or just your posts? How can I redeem myself?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Naomi was interviewed on UTV last night and again this morning, David Ford was on Nolan. Not sure where this “hiding” notion is coming from.

  • nightrider

    Politicians, of all stripes, maybe know the best thing to do is say nothing. (beyond the usual platitudes). Because often these things just die away or move elsewhere. The police know this also. Adolescents vent in Vancouver also.
    Going by the calendar, Ardoyne is due next, but the valve may be squeezed on there.
    This is just pure anti-social behaviour, fireworks and bravado.And alcohol and drugs. It will probably be quiet tonight because they’ve run out of the latter.

  • socaire,

    The yellow card lasts for 24 hours and goes across all threads.

  • Toastedpuffin

    In fairness to Naomi (who’s probably more at ease discussing a bridge evening than a riot) there isn’t much she can do to stop this other than pull on riot gear and baton charge the mob. Refraining from hysterical statements is probably the best option in the short term.

  • USA

    No one is buying the teenage “anti-social behaviour” guff.

    The was a planned attack by the UVF on the Short Strand area of Belfast. The BBC reports here in the US were disgraceful. The English anchor opened by stating that the “people of Belfast are known for bad behaviour” and the subsequent report from their “Ireland correspondent” repeated the well worn two tribes narrative.
    They then went on to talk about “alienation”, whatever the hell that has to do with anything.
    It was a racist attack by thugs and should be dealt with accordingly by the police.
    No need for Robinson to hold “talks” with anyone. He should be refusing to talk to them till they end all violence. The UVF have never stopped their killing, drug dealing, racist attacks, sectarianism etc.
    WTF is Robinson doing saying he is willing to talk to them.

  • Were a casual commenter to offer observations as cynical, bitter and twisted as the tone of Mr Baker’s headline piece, it might sail close to offending the “play the ball” rule. However …

    And, predictably, it drew the usual “Disgusteds of Donaghadee” out from under their stones. However …

    When all that is stripped away, the original statement of the “indigenous administration” seems eminently reasonable. It amounts to requiring a professional assessment of what has happened, why it happened, and what lessons can be learned to try to prevent its repetition.

    If vitriolic abuse is required, why not save it for the BelTel’s newly-discovered “Beast in the East” (who already scores 14,000+ “hits” on Google: follow them to get an ID)? And if the “Beast in the East” has the power to put 500 maniacs on the streets at a whim, then I for one can see the need for talking, lest lack of talk lead to “self-defence measures” among sections of the “indigenous population”.

  • Only the cool dudes get yellow cards…

    But back on topic, isn’t this what always happens in Belfast? A little riot here and a shot there and all of a sudden out comes the funding. Meanwhile those of us outside Belfast (especially those west of the Bann) are left with little to nothing.

    Personally the idea that my local hospital is all but closed due to a lack of funding but some punk in B’fast can get another “community centre” or “community artwork” in their estate is disappointing.

    Why should those who destroy their communities get money to rebuild them, especially when we all know they will do the same again?

  • carnmoney.guy

    The very worrying element for me is the poor media reporting, if this is how they report close to home, imagine the crap they are telling us about Damascus & Tripoli? the BBC were up to their usual tit for tat reporting here, the police have said that this is organised by east belfast UVF. Image if 200 masked men attacked a Sikh or Muslim area in Bradford or London, there would be emergency debates in Parliament – Finchley we are not….

  • jfcb

    That’s all very interesting – what I & many others want to see is a large number of arrests – to help cleanse the streets of Belfast of it’s bitter sectarian hate,
    The only reward for bringing armed masked terrorist thugs on to the street should be being put behind bars,
    The gangsters intimidating their own people & neighbours need investigated by the PSNI & locked up,
    Enough is enough clamp down on these violent sectarian terrorist gangsters.

  • jfcb @ 10:01 am and others:

    That’s sound in theory.

    The vibes I detect (and also voiced by Owen Bowcott in today’s Guardian and elsewhere) are that the PSNI are already providing one point-of-irritation.

    After listing the usual excuses — the leadership-struggles within the UVF, the rise in temperature with the onset of marching, the reservoir of unemployed youth — there is this:

    Growing UVF militancy in east Belfast is said to be a result of resentment at targeting of the local UVF “brigadier” by the police assets recovery agency.

    There are also fears among the wider UVF leadership that investigations by detectives in the historical enquiries team (HET) into murders from the Troubles may lead to the arrest of prominent loyalists.

    Graffiti declaring “HET go home” have appeared on walls in north Belfast. That UVF gunmen have been exposed as long-term special branch informers has created further anger in loyalist ranks.

    Rival groups with links to the Ulster Defence Association are said to have gathered support locally, fuelling the need for the group to flex its muscles.

    A scan of the posts on politics.ie by “Picador” should help identification of “The Beast from the East” (a.k.a. “Ugly Doris” or is that yet another Sunday World invention?).

    Which, I think, brings us pretty well full-circle, all the way to the Columbian Marching Powder. So, all together now:

    Take a sniff, take a sniff,
    Take a sniff on me,
    Everybody take a sniff on me,
    Hey, hey, everybody sniff on me.

  • Or even “Colombian”.

  • Rory Carr

    My initial reaction to this piece was to remark that, while Malcolm Redfellow was disturbed by rhe tone of Pete Baker’s introduction, I was more perturbed by the manner of the attempt to communicate this tone. Neither of the first two ‘sentences’ are indeed sentences. In fact, apart from the piece lifted from the BBC report, there is not a single complete sentence in the whole piece.

    But then I thought that might be a bit churlish of me and the piece was written after 10pm when a fellow’s concentration may not be expected to be quite so sharp and his thought processes may have been diverted by his own attempts to keep from falling off his chair and rolling about on the floor in helpless laughter every time he heard on the news media a response from Naomi Long on the two nights of rioting.

    Quite why a fellow should be reduced to such a state of helpless merriment when he hears the elected representative of an area that has been racked with two nights of intense violent mayhem comment that she has learned that there were disturbances in the area, and that it was not a very nice thing at all, and it was a crying shame, and that it would be very helpful if it did not continue, I am at a loss as to explain. I can only say that it affected me in exactly in the same way. But, I am glad to say, not to the extent that I lost the ability to communicate in whole sentences.

  • HeinzGuderian

    The good people of East Belfast should take a look across at the West of the City,and realise just how fortunate they are !!!

  • Cynic2

    If the UVF don’t want to be targeted by the peelers perhaps they should stop drug dealing, prostituting young women and all the other little ‘businesses’ they are involved in

  • Cynic2

    “senior government offical” tasked with identifying “areas of concern”.

    Sadly I sense a buy off.

    More money for UVF ‘community workers’ will just send a message that they way to screw money out of the system is get the young people to riot then you can sit in the bar and watch the money role in while watching Rangers on big screen TV and drinking yourself to death.

    I don’t mind the latter – the sooner the better – I just don’t want to pay for it

  • granni trixie

    Sacaire and Toasted Puffin:
    As most people other than yourselves would know,Naomi Long is from around Dee Street . This background lends meaning to her remarks about “not understanding” why people are rioting. She was vocalising the views of many who see rioting as senseless,particularly as parents seem to allow their C&YP to run around the streets in dangerous conditions.
    So she wasnt hiding she was showing leadership.

  • Mickles

    If I wreck my street will the govt give me money too? These men with wooly faces are smart.

  • Mickles @ 1:24 pm:

    Nah, not smart. Just slow learners (see Brixton, Tottenham …)

  • There used to be 11 youth clubs around the Albertbridge Road, now there are only 2. So it becomes easy for gang leaders to entice young people into a bit of excitement fighting along the road towards Mount Pottinger. That is where money could usefully be spent, creating alternatives to joining gangs.

    That is the long term solution. The short-term one could be Xena squads, SAS-level female soldiers going in to castrate the local warlords (also a solution to the problems of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia).

  • Mark @ 11:39 am:

    The late (and generally unlamented) Mr Gray allegedly got his moniker (rhyming slang “Doris Day”, not entirely his choice of apparel) from the Special Branch boys. And look what happened to him. “Ugly Doris” allegedly bears a slight resemblance to aforesaid, but is less … soigné(e).

    You don’t think someone is conveying a none-too-subtle message here?

    Alasdair McDonnell’s comment on “Doris” was the gem: “Getting expelled from the UDA for criminality is like getting expelled from the Ku-Klux-Klan for racism”.

    By the way, there seems to be some kind of competition among such disreputables for the most colourful nickname. So, what about a Dewi Quiz moment? — err, no. That would be really extracting the Trigger Mike Coppola from a serious topic. Another time and place, perhaps.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Can anybody point me to a time when a UVF member has been convicted of running a brothel?

    I’ve never heard of such an establishment in all my years in loyalist Belfast.

  • Mark

    I can almost feel your frustration Joe .

    Try http://www.extrapillow.com/ gaggingloyalists and let us know how you get on – good man !

  • USA

    These criminals and thugs should be locked up by the police. No pay off. If McGuinness and Robinson want to talk with someone how about they talk to the rate payers who foot the bill.

    The Executive should be holding meetings about eradicating sectarainism. IMHO that has been their great failure.

    They should not be facilitating meetings with UVF thugs. The only folks the East Belfast UVF should be meeting are the PSNI and the local judge.

  • iluvni

    Instead of indulging these UVF leaders with meetings with the First Minister and high ranking police officers, why arent they taken off the streets and charged with ‘directing terrorism’

  • Joe Bloggs @ 4:40 pm:

    Well, there are different explanations of that.

    One is there’s none so blind as those who will not see. The Daily Mirror had a story on UVF brothels run out of homes in leafy side streets along the Lisburn Road, close to up-market wine bars and within walking distance of Lisburn Road PSNI station as far back as 13th March 2006. Then, in late May 2009, two brothels in that same area were raided: Anna Lo had been making trouble. As a result, “Simon Dempsey, a former PSNI officer from Newtownards and 33-year-old Chen Rong from Crestwood Avenue, Kidderminster in Worcestershire, appeared separately at Belfast Magistrates Court.”

    Another is that Veronica Guerin didn’t get killed in the North, so there wasn’t, as the Garda had, an “Operation Quest” or an “Operation Hotel”, so that

    plainclothes officers … were forced, poor things, to enter lap-dancing clubs, buy themselves drinks with public money, and witness women in various states of undress for a few hours as part of their civic duties.

    So Ms Deena Edridge was the sacrificial cow goat to be the first person to be jailed in Ireland for organising prostitution (one year for being a “major player”). All so-so.

    The UVF’s “liberal” approach to sex-crimes ensured that rapist (8 years for a brutal doing-over on playing fields near Ballysillan Leisure Centre) Gerry Spence was, once out again, welcomed back to renew old UVF acquaintance and march again with the LOL 1913 Ligoniel True Blues. That, of course, is ancient history — all the way back to November 2010. Spence, lest we forget, was also indicted for the shooting of “Frenchie” Marchant outwith the PUP office in the Shankill.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Sorry Malcolm, I don’t see anything in there about UVF members being arrested, charged or convicted of prostitution within the past four decades.

    Oh, and why write ten words when one hundred will do?

  • OFMDFM: “We would ask everyone to give the official the time and space to conduct this work…”

    I guess everyone doesn’t include the First Minister who reportedly has met with leaders of this outlawed terrorist gang who have been orchestrating the recent mob violence according to the police.

  • Joe Bloggs @ 12:21 am:

    Sigh …. —

    “Operation Apsis”, perchance? Seven Belfast brothels raided, 3rd September 2010?

    Or try this:

    Detective Chief Superintendent McComb, Head of the PSNI Organised Crime Branch described the horror of human trafficking, saying: “This is modern day slavery where human beings are treated like commodities by crime gangs who are making substantial criminal profits from the sex trade.

    “These gangs have no thought for the health and wellbeing of their victims. They see them simply as instruments to help them generate cash.”

    He said the brothels were being run by sophisticated criminal organisations.

    “The movement from on-street prostitution to off-street prostitution – the running of brothels – is a development that has been brought about by the involvement of organised crime,” he said.

    “What we are seeing today is the hand of organised crime, who has spent considerable time as well as human capital and financial capital to bring about a very sophisticated organised crime network.”

    Of course, such a very sophisticated organised crime network, operating freely in Belfast, well-resourced, could be the Dumb Animals Defence League or Biblebashers Pseudonymous or the Association of Belfast Campanologists, but it’s blindingly obvious that … etc., etc.

    Oh, and why write ten words when one hundred will do?

    Because sometimes one word describes most accurately — I’m sure you personally hear such a word, often. Sometimes wit and wisdom require a trifle more. And I always try to quote my sources.

  • Another missing [/b].

    Sorry for shouting.

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: ….sophisticated criminal organisations….
    Since when did you regard the UVF as matching the adjective “sophisticated”?
    Let’s be clear. I believe the UVF to be up for every form of lucrative nastiness on the planet, and certainly involved in prostitution. But you haven’t linked them to Operation Apsis, where most of the people charged seem to have been peripatetic Scots.

  • Reader @ 3:04 pm:

    I didn’t: DCS McComb did. I’d prefer “feral” [≥ “animal cunning”, “red in tooth and claw”], which is deployed nicely and precisely in the parallel Mick Fealty thread.

    peripatetic Scots:Don’t start me on that one. We’ll be back to 1609 in no time.

    I guess you refer to something like Martin Williams’ piece for the Herald Scotland [7 Sep 2010]. He made it clear that it was A Scots-led vice gang which spent £50,000 advertising brothels in the Northern Ireland capital. Now, c’mon! Still no UVF connection?

  • Joe Bloggs

    No mention of UVF Malcolm.

    Seems the prostitution market in NI is cornered by Chinese gangs and (formerly) that group of Scots.

    Thanks for clearing that up for us.

  • As I recall, Joe Bloggs at 4:40 pm on 23 June had never heard of such an establishment [as a brothel] in all my years in loyalist Belfast. So the raids and arrests presumably didn’t even happen. I defer to Mr Bloggs’s local knowledge. It just doesn’t agree with every other source — most of the press, local and national, various elected personages, one or two who represent the areas where these operations flourish(ed) and who maintain there are still UVF links.

    And, of course, there’s no Scottish link to anyone or anything UVF-ish. Bobby Moffet still lives and breathes. So here am I recalling Dorothy Parker:

    Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
    A medley of extemporanea;
    And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
    And I am Marie of Roumania.

    End of.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Malcolm, you are seriously embarrassing yourself here.

    I said I have never heard of a UVF-controlled brothel in all my years living in Loyalist parts of Belfast.

    You have since confirmed that the prostitution business in NI is controlled by the Chinese and some Scots.

    And now trying to bring Bobby Moffatt into the mix??? What did he have to do with Chinese brothels???

    Give it up.

  • Joe Bloggs @ 5:20 pm:

    Correction: you @ 4:19 pm asserted (no evidence or source given) that “the prostitution market in NI is cornered by Chinese gangs and (formerly) that group of Scots.”

    Ashleigh Beuken, Yvonne Dawson. Malcolm McNeill, and Stephen Craig all had Scottish addresses, admittedly. Did they acquire their £2⅓m+ liquidi(r)ty — in large part out of their Belfast operation — without, at the very least, the protection of one or other of the paramilitary organisations? Equally, did the two men arrested in South Belfast (29 Dec 2009), have no NI connections?

    As the DoJNI report:

    Prostitution is occurring in towns throughout Northern Ireland: PSNI intelligence over a six month period indicated that 18 of the 29 police areas in Northern Ireland had reported incidents of prostitution. However, Belfast, in particular South Belfast, remains the main problem area.

    Who “controls” South Belfast?

    Oh, and that 2011 DoJNI report is repeating a 2006 QUB presentation given by a DI from the CARE unit:

    Although a number of brothels have been closed in Derry over the past year, this problem is more specific to Belfast. The bulk of them are to be found in South Belfast where there might be ten to twelve operating at any one time. These brothels go in for prostitution on a cleverly organised basis, and operate alongside the more “casual”, individual forms of prostitution.

    The brothels, which have links to escort services, invariably feature minders. These
    individuals usually have criminal convictions, and many of them are connected to Loyalist
    paramilitary groups. The brothels provide the basis for selling drugs and operating protection

    The Chinese connection is not as you assert. I prefer the DoJNI version:

    Many of the women who have been trafficked into Northern Ireland and forced into prostitution were under the illusion that they would be working as nannies, seamstresses, hairdressers or that they would be receiving an education. These women, who are believed predominantly to be Chinese or from Africa or South America, are commonly subjected to violence and threats.

    Despite all the evidence, you assert — without substantiation — that the UVF (is it 29 murders since “decommissioning”?) draws the line at running or “protecting” prostitution. I suggest that is counter-intuitive. I am quantifying my points by citation: you aren’t.

    Now, unless you can bring testable evidence to the discussion, there is no point in my responding further to what amounts to a troll.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Malcolm you are clearly clutching at straws.

    Six posts now and you still haven’t given me any proof of UVF-controlled brothels.

    What has Bobby Moffatt or UVF killings since the 1994 ceasefire got to do with the issue??

    You’ll be bringing up 9/11 if this keeps up.

  • Joe and Malcolm,

    I think any useful discussion between you has ended. Neither of you is going to satisfy the other.

  • Reader

    Malcolm – DCS McComb is the one who said that the criminal operation was sophisticated, you are the one who said it was done by the UVF. It’s not a link I would make, and so far as I can tell DCI McComb didn’t make the link either – why did you do it?
    Secondly, not all Scots are in the UVF, in fact I don’t think many of them are. So that’s another wild leap of logic on your part.
    Is there any connection that you can make between Operation Apsis and the UVF that wouldn’t indicate a deficiency of tinfoil? Was it just the magic word “Belfast”?

  • Reader @ 10:12 am:

    Yes, indeed. I am drawing the lines which you refuse to recognise, the lines which every responsible journo seems quite capable of underlining this decade past.

    For obvious reasons you deny the actualité: consider for just one example the piece by Allison Morris (13 March 2006 and still accessible here) to which I referred you earlier in this thread. Of course, in your world, that’s unfairly besmirching the Persil-white reputation of a fine body of men. Are you always so open-minded?

    I don’t know if those proverbial “dogs in the street” can read the graffiti. I can and did:
    ¶ the posthumous ones about Moffet, justifying his killing on grounds of his adventures in the skin trade;
    ¶ that “property of the UVF” on the Belvoir Bar (still recommended on the Blue Nose Bars website, as if they’re trying to tell us something). The Belvoir was seized by SOCA because Ludlow and Anderson defaulted on an order to hand over £¼million. SOCA, let me remind you, tackles serious organised crime involving class A drugs, people smuggling and human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud, computer crime and money laundering. Which of those would you prefer in this case?

    Since this exchange now imitates the ouroboros, I suggest we adjourn until, doubtless, we meet again on another thread.

  • Mark

    No one is suggesting that UVF members are sitting in the reception area of the local ” Beauty Salon ” taking bookings for happy ending massages or selling bottles of poppers under the counter . What people are saying is that the UVF are the muscle , finance and brains behind the operations . Certain people need to get their heads out of their arses and wake up . Nothing moves in East Belfast without the UVF knowing about it .

  • andnowwhat

    Have to say, the occasionally blatant but more often obtuse defence of the uvf here and elswhere has been the big eye opener for me this week.

    I love the idea of degending the morals of the murdering uvf by saying the would have no part in the oldest profession. Kind of goes back to Alban’s remark.

    BTW Joe Canuck, the latter part of your last post gave me a chuckle considering the context of Joe and Malcom’s debate

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: Yes, indeed. I am drawing the lines which you refuse to recognise, the lines which every responsible journo seems quite capable of underlining this decade past.For obvious reasons you deny the actualité:
    My first post on this thread made it quite clear what I thought of the UVF – I don’t actually think you would take issue with that opinion. All that I refuse to recognise is your apparent belief that you have produced specific evidence for a specific claim about Operation Apsis. You haven’t, you won’t, you can’t.
    Do you have any evidence that “every responsible journo” interprets the result of Operation Apsis in the way that you do? Do you have any evidence that *any* journalist interprets it the way you do?