Hearts and Minds: Paramilitaries and ‘the table of accountability’

John Howcroft talking to Noel Thompson argues that the UDA in north Belfast is now accountable for its actions, tough it is not clear from the interview as to how and to whom… A genuine step forward, or just another quid pro quo

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  • seanobriain

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Like the host says in the video “Who needs you, why don’t you go away?”.

  • London_Irish

    It certainly isn’t to the electorate in North Belfast – nobody from the UDP/UPRG stood as a candidate in the last Assembly election, or for Belfast City Council. Even if it is a token gesture with little realistic ambition of winning a seat, the only way the men in ill-fitting suits can realistically aim to represent the people of these areas is to put themselves forward to elected office.

  • cynic2

    Accountable to whom?

    From the interview, apparently they now sit on a committee with the community and PSNI. So are PSNI holding them to account?

    Personally I would prefer to hear the phrase ‘locking them up’ or ‘getting these parasites off the backs of the communities they infest’ but I assume that would be too much for poor Matt who seems more into redemption than retribution

    In any case, if these drug dealing, intimidating ‘community representatives’ are regularly meeting with PSNI, when does that cross the line into collusion?

    And perhaps PSNI will tell us what elected representatives form part of these committees?

  • Have we got an alternative governance process with ‘parapoliticians’ substituting for politicians? Slugger regulars will recall President McAleese’s endorsement of the Finaghy Crossroads Group. Here’s a photo caption from an article by Máirtín Ó Muilleoir entitled New approach to remaking Belfast

    Liam Maskey of Intercomm, Vice-Chancellor Richard Barnett of UU and John Howcroft of the Tiger’s Bay Community Development Transformation Project pictured outside the York Road offices after our visit on Thursday past.

    It remains to be seen whether parapoliticians, elected and unelected, will continue to be given key roles by London and Dublin in our governance process. Some folks may be a little uneasy to see police officers taking direction from parapoliticians. The process, of course, isn’t limited to interfaces or indeed to Belfast.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yes but. Can anyone inform us what a table of accountability actually is?

  • andnowwhat

    A piece of furniture they count their drug and protection on Mick.

    Obviously, Newtownabbey mustn’t count as North Belfast as they are still dealing and getting their take of other dealers.

  • “a table of accountability”

    It would appear to be a contract between the stakeholders, Mick, where each stakeholder assumes responsibility for one or more actions in the project/process. The stakeholders can be a right motley crew. Presumably going back to this table would be part of a regular progress review.

  • andnowwhat,

    That’s funny.

  • Rapunsell

    Jesus wept. What did he actually say and/or mean in this interview? Why this fiction that the UPRG isn’t the UDA? What work are they actually involved in? I’ve a fair idea it’s about trying to substitute the illegitimate power of the UDA in those communities with at the least a veneer of legitimacy through conflict resolution and community work but it doesn’t and won’t work like that mainly because the role and authority of the UDA organisation trumps everything else. the other reason is that it’s mainly populated bty idiots and thugs and that combination doesn’t serve communities well

  • cynic2

    ” table of accountability” …a sort of Protestant Confessional with a peeler substituting for the Priest and no real penalties?

  • andnowwhat, the McAleeses would just have been implementing policies agreed by London and Dublin, in particular their respective foreign affairs departments, not so much MI5 as MI6 – and whatever the Irish equivalent is.

    Here’s another example of the brotherhood – and the brotherhood international.

  • To borrow from your terminology, cynic2, a Protestant and Catholic confessional with clerics, peelers, civil servants and academics – plus loads of dosh.

  • Good grief.

  • The Raven

    And hopefully our next step will be to have a look at another table of accountability, the new Policing & Community Safety Partnership.

    Wait til you see how *that* trough plays out over the next few months. Same old faces, same paid “allowances”.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Speaking of which, whatever happened to the resident UDA apologist?

  • Noel missed an opportunity to explore this new style of quango and its ‘accountability’. Early quangos drew heavily on the seried ranks of Alliance types but this new one has openings for paramilitaries. Presumably the latter will be from the non-dissenting category and will have authorised immunity from investigation/prosecution certificates.

    Dissent in quangos is not welcomed when it is given public expression; those who speak out-of-turn will be requested to respect the importance of ‘corporacy’.

    Is it not ironic that it’s an Alliance minister who is sanctioning and consolidating this new breed of quango? Some formerly potential quango candidates will have to spend more time at the garden centre.

  • Skinner

    I have mixed feelings about the decision to have that guy on Hearts and Minds. On the one hand it gives him a further feeling of legitimacy, but on the other, at least it exposes him and his ilk as the completely laughable buffoons that they are. He had literally nothing to say for himself. He seemed to be regurgitating a load of bite-size meaningless phraseology aimed at cloaking his true message – give us money or we’ll keep drug dealing, pimping and killing people.