29 1 min 15 yrs

My congratulations to Margaret Ritchie, the SDLP Minister Social Development Minister, for announcing that she intends to STOP all further funding for the "loyalist initiative" which was to get £1.2m of government funding. The importance of this lies in the fact that her decision means that the repulsive UDA will stop getting further tax-payers money. This is a great decision and one I fully endorse. I doubted she would do actually do it – she has – and I want to offer her my full support.

But guess what  – Finance Minister DUP Deputy Leader Peter Robinson has accused her of being in breach of the ministerial code! What an utter disgrace Robinson is! And what a useless bunch this Executive is. I salute Margaret Ritchie for showing true courage in censoring the UDA and- once more I damn the DUP for their sleazy support of the UDA.

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29 thoughts on “STAND UP MARGARET, STAND UP PLEASE!

  1. Funneling £1.2m to those "associated" with the UDA, in the same way as Sinn Fein is, how shall we put it? – "associated" with the IRA.

  2. Alison: "What do Hell does Mahons mean?"

    A sentiment no doubt often thought by many on ATW who out of genuine kind concern for the mentally afflicted such as myself refrain from writing it out.

    In this instance I am applauding Mr. Vance’s great knowledge of music by his title which paraphrases an English Beat song "Stand Down Margaret, Stand Down Please". I did not intend to opine on the NI situation by namechecking the band. I hope that ends the confusion.

  3. Alison,

    The money was for the CTI, which is the community transisition initative, which had on its board members of the UDA. Under direct rule, a deal was struck to give the CTI money to help communities (and the UDa decommission). During the summer months there was a feud which broke out on to the streets involving the UDA. The chief constable Hugh Orde said he would not give the UDA fifty pence. After which Margaret Ritchie said, she would pull the money unless the UDA started to decommission. They didn’t start, but engaged with the decommissioning body the IICOD.
    More trouble broke out. Ritchie set a dead line for October 9th, and the UDA still had not decommissioned, so it took until now for Ritchie to make a statement, because firstly she was in Brussels, but also she had to take legal advice to see if the deal approved by her former colleague under direct rule could be quashed.

    Today she made the statement to pull the funding. The DUP anD Martina Anderson of Sinn Fein said she broke the rules of the executive by not engaging in collective responsibility of ministers, and by not taking the advice of ‘in house’ legal advice. Robinson said she went against that advice.

    The house was adjourned. They say the executive is now in crisis.

    Thats about the height of it.

  4. Thanks all. I thought you were having a pop at the english and couldnt for the life of me figure out why Mahons 😉 Thanks Typhoo. Im not sure i care too much for Martina – recalling one interview posted here where she came off as a hypocrite – but ill stop there as i dont know too much about it and god forbid dont want to kick off another thread by having an opinion on any matter NI! Good for Margaret tho’, takes cojones id have thought.

  5. Robinson should be hanging his head in shame.
    And as for the hypocrisy of Bomber Anderson’s intervention….

    Well done Margaret Ritchie.

  6. Well done Margaret Ritchie.

    Robinson’s shameful comments (in conjunction with Dodd’s critical comments about the PSNI raid on a UDA paramilitary show of strength) speaks volumes about the DUP attitude to "loyalist" terrorism.

    The Sinn Fein response was all too predictable and equally shameful.

  7. Mahons

    Just like to point out that over hear they were only know as ‘The Beat’. ‘The English Beat’ was the name they had to use for legal reasons in the States. Maybe that’s why Alison didn’t automatically get your musical reference.

  8. Well done Margaret Richie from me as well.

    She had the balls to make the right call against the arrogance paramilitary thugs of the UDA.
    Robinson fairly spewed his hatred against her, as expected…but sure, he and the other Government ministers (ha) all ran away from standing with her or offering her support when she asked for it 2 months ago.
    She was left on her todd by her Executive colleagues, but she is the one who has earned the publlic’s respect tonight.

    Maybe Mrs McAleese will step into the breach and find the funds for her good friend Jackie and his pals.

  9. "Maybe Mrs McAleese will step into the breach and find the funds for her good friend Jackie and his pals."

    What a stupid comment.

    Well done Ms Ritchie. You’ve gone up in my estimation.

    Maybe Robbo is so peeved because his group (was it Ulster Awakes?) from the 1980s were also getting some funding!

  10. stupid?
    You find it acceptable practise that McAleese and her husband invite the likes of Jackie McDonald to tea, golf days etc.

  11. "You find it acceptable practise that McAleese and her husband invite the likes of Jackie McDonald to tea, golf days etc."

    I find it admirable that she can meet such a breed of people in the name of Irish reconcilliation.

    She’s hardly "good friends" with them nor is she in any position to fund them.

  12. ‘Irish reconciliation’ should mean inviting the decent people to meet, not reaching out the hand to paramilitary thugs such as McDonald. Air kissing, golf days, state functions, on ‘Martin and Mary/Jackie’ terms…seems quite friendly to me.
    You excuse that if you like, for me this kid glove treatment of paramilitary leaders in the UDA by Government has given them a status where they can strut their stuff in the media without a care in the world. The big men.
    I’m happy that Richie has been the first one to stand up to them.

  13. "Air kissing, golf days, state functions, on ‘Martin and Mary/Jackie’ terms…seems quite friendly to me."

    You’re exaggerating a tad there!

    "You excuse that if you like"

    I didn’t excuse it; I tolerate it. President Mac is a figurehead – it’s admirable that she reaches out to her natural enemies. Margaret Ritchie is Government – it’s only right that she refuses to tolerate thuggery.

  14. Sleazy support of the UDA? Don’t think so. You really need to do some research before throwing around inflammatory language:

    TWO SEPARATE ISSUES AT STAKE OVER CTI FUNDING SAYS DUP MP

    Gregory Campbell MP has said that there are two separate issues at stake in the recent announcement by Margaret Ritchie over the funding of the Conflict Transformation Initiative. Mr. Campbell outlined the issues as (a) the immorality of linking community funding in loyalist areas to paramilitary groups and (b) whether or not the minister had acted illegally in making the announcement in contravention of legal advice given to her by her departmental solicitors. Speaking today, Gregory Campbell said:

    “There are two separate and distinct issues at stake in the on-going debate about Margaret Ritchie’s recent announcement concerning funding for the Conflict Transformation Initiative and it is important that these issues are not blurred or lost in the on-going public wrangle over the issue. The first issue is the foolishness of linking funding for deprived loyalist communities to the actions of paramilitary groups.

    Lets be absolutely clear about this the UDA has virtually no support whatsoever within Unionist communities. To make funding for those communities conditional on what a paramilitary organisation does, is foolish in the extreme. It is vital that in this on-going public wrangle deprived loyalist communities are not the losers I advocated several weeks ago that the Minister should adopt this attitude, shortly after she appeared to be taking the same line, she should now proceed to ensure that this is the case.

    It is our strongly held view that just as it was wrong in the past for Governments to try and buy off the IRA with grants and concessions to republicans, similarly it is wrong for any government minister do indulge in similar actions with the UDA. The second issue at stake here is the way in which the minister made her announcement. If the Minister has disregarded her legal advice and this decision is subject to a judicial review, we face the very real possibility of the Minister having opened up the possibility of huge embarrassment and a costly legal case, if as suspected, she disregarded the advice of her departmental legal advisors”, said the DUP MP.

  15. Fair play to Ritchie. I agree with her totally. But would she have done the same with the provies? Not a chance!

  16. Mahons,

    Not only is The English Beat known as The Beat here, but The Spinners are known as The Detroit Spinners because of some obscure folk group – I’ve never heard one song by them – who used to sing songs in a Mersey-side pub back in 1963 or so took the name ‘The Spinners’.

    It’s just the Games People Play, I guess.

  17. Ballyalban etc,

    Gregory Campbell MP has said that there are two separate issues at stake in the recent announcement by Margaret Ritchie over the funding of the Conflict Transformation Initiative. Mr. Campbell outlined the issues as (a) the immorality of linking community funding in loyalist areas to paramilitary groups and (b) whether or not the minister had acted illegally in making the announcement in contravention of legal advice given to her by her departmental solicitors.

    Regarding Campbell’s more important point:

    What action, to date, have the DUP taken to counteract this "immorality"?

    And a question of my own, what action have the DUP taken on a local level, to counteract loyalist terrorism full-stop?

  18. Blogging committee? Sorry O’Neill I am not a member of any committee! Still, could be worse, when people on a website disagree with me I don’t have it shut down a la the YU’s…..not that you would know anything about that of course!

  19. "Still, could be worse, when people on a website disagree with me I don’t have it shut down a la the YU’s…..not that you would know anything about that of course!"

    No, I wouldn’t.
    My version of unionism, unfortunately, doesn’t really seem to have a home anymore in the UUP.
    I don’t qualify on the "Young" designation either.

    So, any chance of answering the two questions I posed at 07:08 am this morning?

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