In the broadest terms, who to blame?
What follows is partial, and therefore biased. Anyone in a Northern Irish context comes with denominational and familial connections. At the thug end, both sides are up to the gunnels in drug-dealing, extortion — and worse. It doesn’t end there, or stay in the grossest communities: it persists through each and every conurbation across the Six Counties. And it has ramifications further afield.
Except when there’s an atrocity, it doesn’t obtrude into the wider British and Irish attention-spans. Yet, in regard to what follows her, it should. For, to maintain her government “strong and stable’ in Westminster, that daughter of the parsonage, Theresa May, has pledged a cool billion to keep her and their shows on the road. Your average British tax-renderer is footing the bill.
As the Prince concludes, in the finale of Romeo and Juliet:
See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I, for winking at your discords too,
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish’d.
Provided both sides in the great divide of Northern Ireland see some of that filthy lucre glistening in their separate troughs, a degree of “peace” may prevail.
So, to exemplify:
Only when it featured in The S(c)um did this make waves:
WRONG TUNE DUP politician says he thought terrorist meeting he attended was actually a flute band event
Whistle-blower from banned group UDA claims councillor Wesley Irvine attended one of their meetings to hand out voter registration forms ahead of June general election
There is, as a matter of helpful fact, a better version on the Inews site:
The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) member – who said that if his name was revealed he would be killed – told BBC Northern Ireland’s respected Spotlight investigative programme that the banned terrorist group had an increasingly close relationship with the DUP over recent years.
The man told Spotlight that a month before the General Election DUP councillor Wesley Irvine attended a meeting of the UDA’s North Down ‘battalion’ in Bangor, with the meeting chaired by the man alleged to be the group’s commander, Dee Stitt.
He claimed that the former Mayor of North Down was there looking for voters and that prior to the meeting beginning all the women left and those present were asked to leave their phones outside the room.
He said that “the first item of business was for Wesley Irvine to run around the room handing out voter registration forms and DUP election material to chants of ‘DUP’ from Dee Stitt”.
That should take us back to the BBC exposé from which this all derives —
A look at how and why the DUP and Sinn Fein allowed community groups linked to loyalist paramilitaries to benefit from Stormont’s Social Investment Fund.
We can, thanks to another BBC item, draw a direct line from aforesaid Dee Stitt (far right, if not so here) and Arlene Foster (even further right in this image), as here:
El Stitt runs Charter NI, which sits on a nice little earner with £1.7 million — yes, you did read that correctly — leached from the £80 million total of the Social Investment Fund. Out of the same kitty comes near on a million for the Kilcooley Sports Forum — got that, almost a million for a local footie field? — and (oh, you’ve guessed it!) said Stitt is a Big Wheel in that operation, too. Altogether the East Belfast affiliates of the criminal-gang that is the UDA have had the disposition of over £5 million of public money over a couple of years.
Names in the frame include:
- Stitt himself, North Down UDA commander and convicted armed robber,
- his mate Jimmy ‘Millions’ Birch, who is caporegime of the East Belfast UDA,
- Adrian Bird, the Lisburn UDA Brigadier, who was also done and banged up, and now has a public profile as Director of The Resurgam Community Development Trust,
- Sam ‘Chalky’ White, another convicted (7 years to be exact) UDA gunman, who has a sine-cure with Charter NI, and has had run-outs as a DUP council candidate. His playground: the Titanic Quarter of East Belfast.
It’s worth traipsing round the web-sites and publicity for the number of occasions when we see these heavies, and their acolytes, cuddling up with “respectable” politicians, local councillors, mayors, MLAs and worthies.
That’s a nice little, tight little set-up you’ve got there, Arlene.