‘Good’ UDA visits US

With the reported assistance of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Jackie McDonald and three other representatives of the ‘good’ UDA secured the necessary visas and are now in the US.  Travelling on their British passports, natch.  Now-Senator Martin McAleese continues to assist as they meet some familar names.  The Irish Times’ Lara Marlowe reports

The trip is not a fundraising mission. Because of their paramilitary pasts, the state department had to provide waivers for them to receive US visas.

Mr McDonald, who served five years in prison for paramilitary activities, captivated the audience at a reception which was co-hosted by Norman Huston, the director of the Northern Ireland bureau, and Ambassador Michael Collins at Mr Huston’s home on Tuesday evening. Mr McDonald said his self-esteem increased when he joined the UDA as a young man. But the situation deteriorated rapidly, destroying his marriage and led much later to an attempted suicide by his daughter.

In Congressman King’s office yesterday, Mr McDonald said Senator McAleese “made it easier for some people who had kept their distance . . . to be associated with us”. John Bunting said it was important for loyalists “to keep that link with the Áras” after the presidential election because there had been “a fear of the Áras from people in our communities.”

Jackie McDonald was always keen for the UDA to be “afforded the luxuries that Sinn Féin and the IRA were afforded…”

[Jackie McDonald for President of Ireland! – Ed]  Well, he’s a ‘peace-maker’ too…

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  • Turgon

    The irony in the idea of McDonald “captivating” an audience is rich.

    Like almost all “ex” terrorists he tells about how he suffered from being in a paramilitary organisation. The fact that most of theses “sufferings” were self inflicted and the much greater and genunine suffering of the terrorists’ victims is relegated to an almost unimportant detail.

  • between the bridges

    turgon… the ‘in’ speak is not ex-terrorist but the much more heroic ‘ex-combatant’.

  • Tut, tut, Peter, they’re all ‘community activists’ now. Perhaps Martin and Jackie should establish the Community Activists Club 🙂

    “Members of the UDA visit Dublin and members of the Irish Government routinely visit Belfast, and it is a most significant victory”

    Is Representative Neal trying to create the impression that the UDA AC is ‘the legimate Government of Ulster’? 😉

  • sonofstrongbow

    I ‘feel your pain Jackie’, funnily enough mostly in my neck.

    The sad thing is that the Yanks might get the idea that these characters are representative of something other than their tiny little clique.

  • sherdy

    Jackie’s ‘fear of the Aras’ has been replaced by fear of being ostracised by Westminster.

  • dwatch

    “Jackie’s ‘fear of the Aras’ has been replaced by fear of being ostracised by Westminster.”

    Surely Jackie McDonald or any of his 3 representatives from the UDA have ever been democratically elected to office, Local Council, Stormont or Westminster.

  • All in it together now…

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Fear of the Aras, wtf ?? Is this what good loyalist parents used to threaten their children with? Get up to bed or the big bad president of the Free State will come after ye? If only we knew, eh?

    OK. Let’s get with the project. London talked to the Provos because it didn’t want any more bombs in England.

    Dublin talks to the loyalists / brings them on joliies to the K Club and the USA because it wants to neutralise them. It particularly doesn’t want bombs going off in Dublin etc at some point in the future (yeah we know the loyalists had ‘assistance’ in their past endeavours in this area but you get the picture). It’s called the long game.

    It ain’t rocket science, people.

  • galloglaigh

    Turgon

    What’s your view on the security forces who used the UDA to heighten tensions, and who passed on information about innocent victims, claiming they were republicans? Are they also terrorists?

    Or what about the TUV members who were willing members of terrorist organisations, who along with groups like the UDA imported AK47s, Browning pistols, fragmentation grenades, ammunition and RPG rocket launchers into N.Ireland?

    Are they good terrorists too?

    I sure would like your views on these issues!

  • “It ain’t rocket science, people.”

    It isn’t, Tochais Síoraí, I’ve labelled it nimbyism and noted the hypocrisy. It would be nice if London and Dublin wanted for NI what they want for the rest of these islands.