Nationalist reps offer sceptical welcome for new Loyalist Community Council

Responses to the new Loyalist Community Council came in quickly from both the SDLP and Sinn Fein. There is a general consistency between both parties as they initially welcomed the approach towards democracy and peace but sceptical about some of the aims.

First up the SDLP’s Claire Hanna (bits in bold added by me to emphasis areas of concern);

Any genuine attempt to move paramilitary gangs away from violence is to be cautiously welcomed but there is something worrying about formalising and co-opting these organisations in order to have them leave the stage. The success of this new Loyalist Community Council will only be measured by tangible evidence that loyalist paramilitaries have disappeared. Certainly, we should be getting the good behaviour up-front before the grant applications start to be written.

“There are a number of problems with this new body, not least that the council will include members from each the UDA, the UVF and the Red Hand Commando which are all proscribed organisations that are still active in racketeering, intimidation and violence across Northern Ireland. There is also a major credibility and coherence gap in light of the statement just last week from the South Belfast UPRG that their UDA bedfellows would be going nowhere”

In a statement today, loyalist paramilitaries have stated that they hope this new body will ‘become a vehicle for attracting meaningful funding and initiatives to assist loyalist communities throughout Northern Ireland’. Many, many millions have already been spent in Peace funding to get rid of these of paramilitary organisations and to rebuild republican and loyalist communities destroyed by the Troubles and paramilitaries. Many people will be asking how much and how often we have to pay these people to go away especially as a majority of ex-prisoners have now been out far longer than they were in jail. 

Decades on from the ceasefire, the message to young men in loyalist communities is still being given that whether through extortion or a designated conflict transformation job, being a paramilitary is an acceptable way to make your living. Many would feel that the money would be better spent on early years intervention, tackling educational underachievement and otherwise giving vulnerable young people the skills and confidence to resist the lure of paramilitaries.

Then we have Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly

In recent months alone unionist paramilitary groups have murdered Brian McIlhagga in Ballymoney and are involved in on-going drug dealing and extortion.

The continuing criminality of loyalist paramilitary groups remains a scourge in loyalist working-class areas.

So, while I welcome today’s initiative, I do have some reservations.

The demand for an end to historic prosecutions must be rejected as it flies in the face of the Stormont House Agreement which was about enabling families the opportunity to have maximum disclosure of the truth and access to justice. A large number of loyalist killings were carried out with the support and active involvement of British state forces and have never been properly investigated.

Secondly, the only basis for involvement in political negotiations is through the democratic process of elections. However engagement with loyalists to move them away from violence and criminality is something I would encourage. And we also need to be conscious of the sense of abandonment felt in loyalist communities and of the need to address loyalist disengagement from the political process.

All paramilitary groups – including so called republican ones – need to embrace our peace and political processes and develop their own political projects through solely peaceful and democratic means.

This raises the issue of the demobilisation of such groups, an issue which requires further consideration and discussion.

But funding proposals aimed at tackling deprivation and disadvantage must be based on proven objective need.

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  • chrisjones2

    In recent months and years alone Republicans paramilitary groups have murdered a number of people and are involved in on-going smuggling, fuel laundering,extortion, political grandstanding, poisoning water supplies, concealing serious sexual assaults as well as keeping offenders from justice and wrecking the political institutions .

    The continuing criminality of republican paramilitary groups remains a scourge in Republican working-class areas.

    So, while I welcome today’s initiative, I do have some reservations.

    The demand for an end to historic prosecutions must be rejected as it flies in the face of the Stormont House Agreement which was about enabling Republican families the opportunity to have maximum disclosure of the truth and access to justice while making sure that didn’t work the other way around!. A large number of republican killings were carried out with the support and active involvement of British state forces and have never been properly investigated, but we never mention those as it is just too darned painful and might annoy some very violent people

    Secondly, the only basis for involvement in political negotiations is through the democratic process of elections. And we also need to be conscious of the sense of abandonment felt in Republican communities and of the need to address republican disengagement from actually addressing any of these in areas like North and West Belfast which after 20 years of SF representation remain some of the most deprived in Western Europe

    All paramilitary groups need to embrace our peace and political processes and develop their own political projects through solely peaceful and democratic means as defined by us and calculated to maximise our political gains at the expense of our real and bitter enemies – the Stoops.

    This raises the issue of the demobilisation of such groups as the SDLP , an issue which requires further consideration and discussion.

    But funding proposals aimed at tackling deprivation and disadvantage must be based on proven objective need provided oursens get a lot more than theirsuns – its only fair, as after 800 years of oppression we clearly need more

  • Barneyt

    FROM BBC site:

    Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Powell said it was the “last best chance” to include loyalists left behind by the peace process.”

    He said: “Some may argue that these organisations should just disappear. The experience from around the world suggests that would be a mistake”

    “Other violent groups would simply take over the names UVF, UDA and the Red Hand Commando and carry on with paramilitarism”

    “We really don’t want to see a Real UVF and a Continuity UDA”

    “It is far better that the groups continue but there is no criminality; there is no violence; they continue in a civil fashion.”

    He clearly supports the continuity of these paramilitary groups, as long as they don’t do as it says on the tin. I see his point with respect to a vacuum and others filling this space, but did the Real and Continuity IRA not emerge whilst the IRA remained?

    Loyalists that have been left behind need real political representation. Any paramilitary continuance and advocacy (albeit whilst they remain passive) will surely legitimise paramilitarism and serve as a magnet for young loyalist men.

  • Granni Trixie

    Seems amnesty under another label is what they want – a no no.

    Powells imvolvement seems strange until you consider that he was also in the centre of ,and defended, the get out of jail card for Republicans – an initiative excluding loyalists so I suppose the whataboutery lever was pulled behind the scenes.

    Also, whilst many close to the action probably have knowledge of the extent of loyalist criminality many did not but now that the extent of it is highlighted in media stories it enters public consciousness and even if they clean up their act baggage is likely to stick.
    This militates against the PUP gaining electorally for whilst in the aftermath of the GFA some strategically voted for PUP,to bring about change, I doubt this factor will come into play now.
    Think all this makes it a good time to revisit Erving Godfman’s analysis of “Spoiled Identity”.

  • Granni Trixie

    Was with you all the way until you mentioned “demobilise SDLP” . Is this a wee in-joke? If not it’s quite insulting – surely the SDLP have nothing in common with paramilitary groups? You can say what you like about the SDLP politically but I will always stick up for them should anyone claim they supported violence.

    For the record can you clarify?

  • Thomas Barber

    Grannie I think he’s attempting to be sarcastic but he just doesn’t have the charisma for it.

  • Dan

    Are the vile murals coming down, and flags kept off lampposts?

    If not, it’s a total waste of time.

  • Redstar

    Couldn’t make this stuff up!
    They want more millions to make up for their income loss if they stop selling drugs.

    Meanwhile there should be an improvement in their kids educational achievement if they cease selling the dope and go to school

  • Greenflag 2

    That would be a type C personality then 🙂 From the psychological lexicon .

    Type A :

    Driven to succeed -energetic -innovative -grasping -cunning -etc etc . Your CEO -top gangster -bankster -bond trader -barrow boy –

    Type B :

    Laid back -tomorrow never comes – I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure etc -que sera sera -live and let die -that kind of thing . No waves a quiet life .

    Type C :

    No personality at all at all

  • aquifer

    Fund political parties and get some real politicians who can stand up to hoods.

    Funding politicians though fiddled expenses and developer donations is obviously not working.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    We’re told this is yet another “initiative”. What is it about, exactly ? No plan of action has been proposed, no objectives set.

    And what are unionists doing talking to an organisation that reaffirmed that it wouldn’t disband ? And while we’re on that subject, which factions of the UDA and UVF are on board with this, and which factions are not ?

  • kalista63

    But they’ll still sell drugs but the peelers will say they’re operating independently.

  • murdockp

    If a load of dogooders turned up in Africa or other developing nations such as India with computers, the locals would be teaching themselves how to use them with our without tutors.

    If the same computers were deployed in East Belfast, they would be lucky to be switched on at all as the locals would complain about lack of training, training not being provided at hours that suit them, the bus not being paid for to get to college, and on and on.

    SF and DUP created this nanny state where the state gets involved in every part of managing people’s lives which is why people refuse to take self responsibility for their predicament.

    The loyalists need a change in attitude about themselves, greater self esteem, and to look to the future.

    If your entire culture exists to celebrate and fully focused on the past, and point scoring against your oldest enemy without any eye on the future, I am afraid achievement in academia, vocational training is not going to happen.

    There is a reason the Irish Republic and other devolved nations such as Wales and Scotland are becoming a vibrant modern European economies and NI is going backwards as it fails to jettison the backward, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, work shy, and Christian fundamentalist attitudes of many people here have. Sadly we are a product of the environment we live in and given our political leaders are literally morons, I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

  • Gary.

    Powell must have another book due!

  • murdockp

    we live in an communist state, literally. we have more public sector workers than east Germany at the height of the cold war.

    Orwell teaches us politicians become corrupt in communist states.

    our politicians serve themselves and and thier parties first.

    direct rule, bring it on!

  • Granni Trixie

    I would be interested n knowing factual evidence concern g numbers too,
    I suspect however that we would find that it is true that there are fewer actual card carrying members of IRA than we assume. This is distinguishing actual members-volunteers from ‘supporters’ .

  • Reader

    Gerry Kelly: The demand for an end to historic prosecutions must be rejected as it flies in the face of the Stormont House Agreement
    I expect Gerry is going to regret saying that.

  • Lorcs1

    Whataboutery level: Expert.

  • Lorcs1

    Chances are, if GK had anything to fear from an historic case, he probably would have heard it by now.

    There’s no realistic proposition of prosecution for thousands of murders during the troubles, beyond maybe a handful where ex-combatants turn grass against each other.

    GK can bluff and blow about historic cases and proclaim himself a champion of victims, safe in the knowledge that he and the rest of the boys will never get any grief from it.

  • Reader

    Not just him specifically. SF complains about 50% of historical cases (guess which 50%). Now Gerry has ruled himself out of being the spokesman in such cases.

  • Granni Trixie

    Just listening to radio and as I suggested more and more is emerging detailing extortion, paramilitary policing of drug dealing to ensure they get their cut etc.
    Some retailers in EB paying paramilitaries weekly sums are therefore putting down an immediate marker of loyalist commitment to change: will they be round to collect over the next week? Simples.

  • raymonds back

    From Wikipedia … but my original post is from experience: growing up through the Troubles I met a fair few people who claimed to be in the IRA, but very few who actually were.

    “In the early to mid-1970s, the numbers recruited by the IRA may have reached several thousand, but these were reduced when the IRA re-organised its structures from 1977 onwards. An RUC report of 1986 estimated that the IRA had 300 or so members in Active Service Units and up to 750 active members in total in Northern Ireland.”

  • T.E.Lawrence

    What surprises me is SF still letting Gerry speak from the pulpit especially on Loyalism after his recent North Belfast Election Campaign !

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “A large number of loyalist killings were carried out with the support and active involvement of British state forces.” Yet another example in Kelly’s statement of the incoherent Republican narrative about anti-terrorist policing and intelligence operations. Their Orwellian news-management machine has locked on a strategy of re-casting the successful infiltration by intelligence services of loyalist and republican paramilitaries so Republicans “own the narrative” over it – “collusion” they think is their trump card. Their disingenuousness over it is clear from the way they apply the term to state intelligence inflitration operations against loyalism but not to the similar state infiltration of the IRA.

    If Kelly’s position is that the presence of informers and agents in a terror cell means the activities of that cell were carried out with the security forces’ “support and active involvement”, then he must think that a lot of the IRA campaign had the support and active involvement of the state also. But he seems less keen on his own analysis when it’s applied to his own terror group.

    The reality of course is that SF’s “collusion” narrative is largely a smokescreen masking the massive success of the intelligence services in compromising and thwarting paramilitary groups of all stripes. Ironically, security forces had more overall success against Loyalists, as Da Silva found, some appalling exceptions of individual criminality by rogue operators notwithstanding. I don’t expect Kelly of course to give the security forces any credit – he is an ultra-nationalist rejector of all things British after all – but if he really wants to take part in “difficult conversations” as he claims he does, and be taken seriously, he needs to leave this kind of self-serving, evasive nonsense over “collusion” behind. He’s creating another barrier to an honest appraisal of our shared experience and makes a shared future that much harder to conceive.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think the IRA was a much more tightly-run organisation after the mid-70s and they reduced numbers as you point out, for their own self-preservation. Still fair to say the numbers of Repub ex-prisoners goes into the tens of thousands. But it would be interesting to see numbers. And of course there are the many people aiding and abetting, on both sides. It’s pretty shameful stuff all round.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    ad hominem comments are a bit naughty – not allowed. Otherwise Slugger turns into cyber-bullying. It’s supposed to be about debate.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    just to repeat, ad hominem comments are not allowed on Slugger, is my understanding.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    a bit on the ad hominem side there – not what Slugger is about.

  • babyface finlayson

    There may be many republican ex prisoners who were never in the IRA. I can think of at least one!

  • Greenflag 2

    I was with CJ mostly until he asked for the SDLP to be demobilised . As I thought this comment was a joke or a mistake in getting the right acronym -not difficult in the NI context admittedly . I replied in somewhat humourous vein as he made no attempt to clarify Grannie Trixies reasonable ask .

    CJ is I’m sure a decent man/woman just somewhat deficient in historical accuracy for which the remedy is entirely up to himself -personal responsibility and all that .

  • James7e

    We might indeed. But I am interested in how the poster is claiming this as a fact. If a list exists, I’d certainly like a copy.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    He has just became the new James Bond 007 and knows everything ! Bye the way when is that new film out ?

  • raymonds back

    Ach Jaysus lads, do a bit of research yourselves to find out numbers in the IRA. It does not ‘run into thousands’ as it does on the Protestant side.

  • James7e

    Bond vs the provos? I’d buy a ticket for that. Could call it “Your Day Never Comes” or something.

  • Kev Hughes

    He’s creating another barrier to an honest appraisal of our shared experience and makes a shared future that much harder to conceive.

    Ahahahahaha you’re kidding, right? Is that you Barnshee?

    MU, your paranoid, one sided rantings, whilst a pleasure to read, ignore the Da Silva report confirming what we already knew, state collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

    Shared future? You live in England? You’ve no skin in the game any more (neither do I) and you’re merely raging against the light…

  • John Collins

    I think your morons comment is apt. I have always thought the collective term ‘parliament’ when applied to crows is actually very unfair to those very intelligent birds. At least when crows ‘caw’ their utterances make sense to other crows.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Have you read Da Silva? If so, seems like you may have read it selectively. Because it found the net effect of intelligence penetration of Loyalist groups was overwhelmingly positive:
    5.9: “… I can certainly infer from the available material that there is no evidence to suggest that, in the late 1980s, the security forces were institutionally biased in seeking to bring charges against republican paramilitaries as opposed to loyalists. On the contrary, the actions of the authorities in charging, prosecuting and imprisoning loyalist terrorists during the late 1980s in my view seriously undermines any simplistic notion that loyalist terrorists should be regarded as an extension of the State.”
    5.19: “In view of the criticisms later in this Report, it is important to note that the authorities were taking significant action against loyalist terrorists during the late 1980s. I have no doubt that the action taken by the security forces did frustrate loyalist terrorists and significantly reduce their operational capacity in Northern Ireland as a whole.”
    5.20: “Any attempt to crudely describe loyalist terrorists as simply ‘State-sponsored forces’ is, in my view, untenable and fundamentally at odds with a substantial body of contemporary evidence and the historical context of the relationship between loyalists and the security forces during this period (see Chapter 2) …”
    Are you perhaps missing the wood for the trees here?

  • Janos Bingham

    Behave MU!

    You are well aware that such reports do get a trifle more complicated (big words, difficult (for some) concepts to grasp; you know the kind of thing) beyond the partisan edited highlights so beloved of a certain kind of individual.

    Still the ability to skim over a report like Da Silva and separate out only the bits that fit your prejudices is some kind of skill I suppose. Cognitive cherry picking perhaps?

  • Kev Hughes

    Are you missing the 85% of the UDA’s intelligence coming from the State? Even in a shitty white wash of a report the State notes some involvement in the killing of its citizens.

    But that’s a smokescreen, it’s what goes on in […] unionism in general that worries me. This blind faith, this sheer inability to even acknowledge in a meaningful manner historical wrong doing, it’s border line sociopathic

    [Edited for borderline man playing]

  • MainlandUlsterman

    ha! That’s ad hominem, you’re going to have to withdraw that last comment.

    I can see you’re frustrated, but you’d be better advised trying to understand and engage with people from a unionist perspective, rather than call us names when we disagree. Aren’t you supposed to be wooing us towards Irish nationalism?

    The UDA intelligence point is interesting. Not sure where that figure comes from, but it could well be true. Is that evidence of some conspiracy that goes all the way to the top? I’d doubt it. All it takes is for a few lists of suspects to get photocopied and smuggled out by a rogue sympathiser working for the cops and the UDA has them. It doesn’t, surely, take many people or even particularly senior people for something like that to happen.

    The question is though, if the state was helping Loyalists target Republicans quite so extensively, why were so few Republicans actually hit? One of the most striking things about the Loyalist killing figures is how few of active Republicans they targeted. You don’t need lists for any “any T*** will do” policy and that’s overwhelmingly what they did. The actual picking out of specific Republican targets was a pretty tiny proportion of their activity.

    So rather than being shocked and angry that other people don’t agree with you, you could address the critique of your position. Or not, it’s up to you.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Not cherry picking at all, I would accept the whole report. But Chapter 5 is particularly interesting for people trying to extrapolate about security force / loyalist collusion, because it’s the part that addresses the bigger picture. And you don’t get that looked at rigorously by an outside QC very often.

    Looking at the big picture is hardly cherry-picking. Focussing on an individual incident such as the Finucane murder and seeking to make sweeping unfounded generalisations off the back of it, is cherry-picking. The SF approach is to use a relatively small number of incidents to throw up a smoke screen, to obscure the big picture of the Troubles. Collusion where it happened was abominable of course; but the attempts to use it to discredit the whole of the security forces’ work over 30 years are sadly all too typical of the thin and self-serving “blame it all on the Brits” agenda of SF. I wonder why they would try and do that? Answers on a postcard please.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    oh and if we’re getting personal, do you want to compare legal education and experience? I’m gambling here and assuming you’re not David Trimble in disguise …

  • Kev Hughes

    Aren’t you supposed to be wooing us towards Irish nationalism

    Are you kidding me? Honestly, you’re joking? You live in England, why would I try and convince a man who ‘knows’ he’s right?

    The question is though, if the state was helping Loyalists target Republicans quite so extensively, why were so few Republicans actually hit?

    That’s not the question at all. The question is why did the state with the UDA target people who were Irish and/or catholic illegally?

    So rather than being shocked and angry that other people don’t agree with you, you could address the critique of your position. Or not, it’s up to you.

    I enjoy your monologues MU, you call for self reflection on our positions yet are unwilling to do so yourself. I’m well aware people don’t agree with me, what I’m shocked with is how they simply ignore what’s obvious and cherry pick facts. 85% of the UDA’s murders during a certain period was due to intelligence provided by the state’s security apparatus. The rest of your post about it being a photocopy and easy to do is daft ramblings of someone trying to ignore the simplest explanation, state collusion.

    Take your own advice, review your little tangled web of plot holes and reflect, why..

  • MainlandUlsterman

    and what of Da Silva’s findings on state collusion though?

    Findings like: “the actions of the authorities in charging, prosecuting and imprisoning
    loyalist terrorists during the late 1980s in my view seriously
    undermines any simplistic notion that loyalist terrorists should be
    regarded as an extension of the State.”
    Not give you at least pause for thought?
    I won’t engage on the ad hominem stuff though, not interested.

  • Kev Hughes

    85% MU, that’s ad hominem?

    Sure…

    An inconvenient truth, the state was involved in the murder of its civilians and you think it’s a simple photocopy job? Over 10+ years?

    [Edited – don’t play the man]

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I can’t help thinking you’re helping secure the Union for another generation though 😉
    Is there a strategy for persuading unionists, as a matter of interest?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    and yet I condemn terrorism on all sides, unreservedly and consistently … hmm. How do you square that?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    No, the ad hominem bit was calling someone “borderline sociopathic” (for having a different interpretation of events from yourself).

  • Kev Hughes

    That’s cute, I’d imagine that merely ignoring or making light of the murder of others wouldn’t help secure the Union much?

    I’ll omit the smiley face, seeing as that’s pretty creepy and inappropriate from you owing to our topic of discussion.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    can you quote when I made light of the murder of others? I don’t think you can. Really any more stuff that’s ad hominem or libellous and I will have to report.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “nut jobs” – ad hominem

  • Kev Hughes

    No, I accused a certain sub-set of a community of being sociopathic and I stand by it, but your behaviour I do find interesting.

    It’s the lack of social conscience, your ability to find excuses (photocopied) it’s striking.

    The smiley or winky face on a topic where state collusion was mentioned, that kind of confirmed it. I mean, really?

  • Kev Hughes

    Go for it, you don’t scare me.

    No more winky faces I see, boo hoo

  • MainlandUlsterman

    can you quote where you’re referring to? Try and keep it accurate.

  • Kev Hughes

    Your quote above about ‘photocopying’, the winky face on a serious topic.

  • Kev Hughes

    See above.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “lack of social conscience”? What are you referring to?

    The photocopying was, as I understand it, factually what happened. Why the surprise?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    see what above though?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Here’s where I used the winky face:

    “I can’t help thinking you’re helping secure the Union for another generation though ;-)”
    How is that insensitive? It wasn’t a comment about anyone’s deaths, it was making light of my being exposed to pathetic attempts at cyber-bullying (yet again) on Slugger. I’m not scared either, but I am leaving this conversation.

  • Kev Hughes

    Your quotes. All it takes is for a few lists of suspects to get photocopied and smuggled out by a rogue sympathiser working for the cops and the UDA has them. It doesn’t, surely, take many people or even particularly senior people for something like that to happen.

    Over years and years? They didn’t notice people showing up at murder scenes on the lists? Of course not.

    No, I stand by my comments. I think that large parts of unionism is sociopathic nut jobs who dismiss out of hand their wrong doing, especially from the state. What frightens me is just how casual it is.

    You condemn terrorism? Good, I do too. Now I’m looking forward to hearing you condemn collusion, go on, let’s see how big you are. No ‘people were in a tough spot’, no ‘the lines got blurred’, just condemn what we know happened.thats your bonafides of wanting true change, otherwise, you’re just like Gerry Kelly for yourself, keeping us back

  • Kev Hughes

    Aw bless, cyber bullying. You tried to chill conversation here, you were the one raising liable, so drop the faux mopery here as its unbecoming.

    You don’t like me sticking to the point that you put a winky face up on a discussion about collusion. Or how about 85% with the UDA. You tried to steer into how I plan on convincing you of the merits of a UI? Wow… Sorry, but pick your moments…

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But I have already condemned it on this very thread. I called it “appalling criminality”. And on many other threads. Happy to do so again for the avoidance of doubt.

    OK, that’s all on this thread for me.

  • Janos Bingham

    Oops!

    My hamfisted delivery has lead to you picking up the wrong end of the stick.

    I am actually in support of your argument. I was gently mocking your interlocutor who cited Da Silva as supporting the view held by a number of people in the nationalist community that loyalist terrorists were an arm of the State. That position I was suggesting betrays a rather less than in-depth reading of the report.

    And no I am not David Trimble, but, Lord Trimble knew my father………….

    Btw on the 85% loyalist ‘intelligence’ being supplied by ‘state actors’; loyalists were sectarian murderers who in the vast majority of their killings targeted Catholics, or those they believed to be such. Their scurrilous activities do not suggest much knowledge whatsoever of nationalist terrorist structures and personnel.

    I am reminded of an old maths master who often belaboured me for not specifying the units I was working with at every stage of my attempts at solving his, to me, numerical puzzles.

    I can hear his voice in my head now ‘85% of one apple is not much apple, 85% of an orchard of apples, well now that could be a much more significant volume of apple.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    apologies Janos, I thought the cherry-picking thing was aimed at me. I hate to bring up my lawyer past usually but my hackles rose when I thought I was being accused of not being able to read a long document – I suffered way too many long dull documents for too many years to take that lying down 🙂 Sorry I jumped at the wrong target. The perils of interpreting online tone. Apologies.

  • Zig70

    If nationalist were to present a council that contained 2 members of the IRA then the DUP would call for the arrest of those members and you couldn’t argue with the logic. It is an illegal organisation. The problem isn’t criminality, you’d be stupid to say you are going to get rid of criminality in any area, working class or not. The problem is the place in society these loyalist groups are given and it is hard to think that no responsibility for that falls to the loyalist politicians. The DUP and UUP or even TUV have done nothing of substance. This current focus on loyalist paramilitaries is just a byproduct of the political initiative on SF and everyone knows it has no teeth or intent. Shortly the politicians will be back walking past the paramilitary murals and the smell of hypocrisy won’t catch in their noses. Some very fresh murals in Newtownabbey. You’ll probably spot the hand in hand as the paramilitary flags will reappear just after any election in the spring. Just saying ‘down with that sort of thing’ doesn’t cut it.

  • Janos Bingham

    No apology required. My own missive was easily misinterpreted. I put it down to the perils of me trying to exercise the lowest form of wit online. No harm done whatsoever.