By Giada Lagana– The division between Protestants/loyalists/unionists and Catholic/republicans/nationalists in Northern Ireland, regarding the nature and meaning of the conflict, encompasses all levels of society and all generations. For nationalists, their relationship to the British and Irish states remains primary, whereas for loyalists, the conflict with the other community is acknowledged as being of greater […]Exploring the role of Youth Workers in Northern Ireland loyalist working-class communities: Sectarianism, Education and Languages.
PARAMILITARY PEACE PROMISE ALL HOT AIR
THE absurdity of Monday’s announcement that loyalist paramilitaries are now fully supportive of the rule of law will not be lost on those who know the nature of the beasts.
Simply being a member of the UDA, Red Hand Commando or UVF is enough to put you behind bars for up to 10 years – not that anyone in authority seems to care. If we are to take ageing terror chiefs Jackie McDonald and Jim Wilson at face value you can expect to see the membership of these organisations dramtically decrease, because, according to Jackie, those involved in criminality are “masquerading as loyalists” and will be expelled. He’s said it before, yet the organisation he heads continues to be deeply involved in the drugs trade, extortion – of which Jackie is a bit of an expert – punishment attacks and putting people out of their homes.
There was an air of desperation about Monday’s announcement. The flow of cash from the public purse has continued, against the better judgement of many people who are rightly concerned at the over-indulgence of illegal organisations who have been too slow to move with the times. But there is now a real threat to the liberty of many of the men under McDonald’s command.
The paramilitary Crime Task Force has been slowly turning the screw, targeting the UDA’s criminal endeavours on the Shankill and more recently in North Down. Arrests are being made and charges pressed.
Stringent conditions governing the release of grants threaten to slow the cash flow, and we all know there’s nothing like putting liberty at stake and cutting the cash to focus the mind of a loyalist paramilitary. It would be wonderful to think there is a genuine desire to move away from criminality and there is no question there are many, many veteran paramilitaries who have turned their backs on their organisation, appalled at their involvement in drugs.
Equally there are many paramilitary leaders who continue to grow fat on the proceeds of organised crime – don’t expect that to change. Monday wasn’t a red letter day. No one doubts the sincerity of the church leaders and community activists who helped ‘broker’ this week’s announcement, but away from the hallowed walls of the Linen Hall Library it was business as usual.
A death threat issued against a journalist, a man lucky to be alive when shots were fired as he walked the streets of north Belfast, a show of strength in Bangor and a hoax pipe bomb thrown through a window of a family home in Ballymoney. It will take more than the pious words of Jackie McDonald and Jim Wilson to convince anyone that after all these years they are finally going stright.
With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the origional story.l
Today marks the 26th Anniversary of the mobile shop shooting in Craigavon, Co Armagh
3 young innocent people were murdered by loyalists.
Eileen Duffy 19-years-old
Katrina Rennie 16-years-old.
Brian Frizzell 29-years-old.
Ireland Will never forget them.
With many thanks to: Shane Ryan O’Hanley – Irish and Palestinian Internationalist Solidarity.
Peace pledge loyalists (LCC) the new name for UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando are in line for Blair £1m
Raymond McCreesh – H-Block Martyr
Raymond McCreesh – H-Block Martyr
A prisoner since my mother gave birth,
I have seen catholic families evicted, saw their homes being burned
By a rampaging mob of murdering Loyalists.I saw young men battered and beaten
By the strong arm of the British Army,
I took a vow to God and Ireland
That I would help to set my country free.I saw Ulster become a battlefield
As the angels in heaven cried,
I heard the mortar bombs and bullets speak,
I read the names of comrades who died.I joined the Provisional IRA
To destroy the chains of slavery
That for 800 years we have struggled to break;
I gave my life to God and to my country.
— with Rory Dubhdara
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On the 10th Anniversery of the disbandment of the old RUC and the 10th Birthday of the PSNI Matt Baggott has said he stands over a decision not to accept criticisms by the Police Ombudsman of the detectives who investigated the 1971 bombing of McGurks Bar in North Belfast.
A probe by Mr Al Hutchinson found dectectives adopted an ” Investigative bias ” by claiming the attack was commited by Republicians as an own goal when in fact Loyalists were to blame. Relatives of the 15 people murdered in the bombing were furious when Mr Baggott refused to agree with the findings.
” Whatever I think about this is nothing to the hurt those folk have been through, ” Mr Baggott said. ” But I can’t agree. I can’t, with all integrity, agree to something when i can’t see how that judgement’s been made or when there’s conflicting evidence in there.
” People don’t want a Chief Constable that isn’t sometimes able or strong enough to say I’m afraid I disagree, because that wouldn’t be good, ” he said. ” I am saddened that people are hurt. I am saddened that we haven’t been able to disagree but I do respect the victims and their views on this. ”
The families of victims of the McGurk’s bombing have said they are planning legal action against the Chief Constable Matt Baggott.
The move is over his response to the Police Ombudsman’s report into the police investigation of the 1971 UVF attack in which 15 people died.
Mr Baggott has refused to accept the findings of the report which criticised the RUC investigation.
The report said the police had been guilty of investigative bias.
On Thursday, Sinn Fein raised their concerns about the chief constable’s response.
The party’s Caitriona Ruane asked if he would accept that “the approach taken by the PSNI towards public defence of past policing – investigations into the McGurk’s bar bombing and the Loughinisland massacre – has been seriously faulted”.
Mr Baggott replied that he “wished he could bring resolution to the families on this and I’m sorry that I can’t.
“But in relation to two aspects of that report, I’m afraid the re-analysis I’ve done still comes back with the fact that some of those findings which were made by the ombudsman, with my test of evidence I can’t stand over those and I find them not proven.”
Speaking after a Policing Board meeting on Thursday, the solicitor representing the families, Niall Murphy, outlined the reason why legal action was being considered.
“Specifically with regard to the chief constable’s remarks today at the Policing Board, the families have instructed ourselves to consider the reasonableness of what appears to be his decision to unilaterally dismiss the authority of the Police Ombudsman and the report that he has concluded with regards to this investigation,” Mr Murphy said.
“We would be firmly of the opinion that he does not have the constitutional statutory basis to attempt to do that.”
Two women and three children, including publican John McGurk’s wife and 14-year-old daughter, were among those killed in the blast.