Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good and Bad Loyalists

Not satisfied with all that money thrown at them by the British Government, those irksome loyalists have decided to threaten the safety of senior Irish diplomat, Aine DeBaroid.

The police noted they believed the threats to be credible and Ms DeBaroid, who was engaged in outreach work with loyalist communities in Belfast, was quickly transported to Dublin.

Frankie Gallagher from the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group said: "In East Belfast we never took any money to get any resources in and yet we had a fantastic relationship with Aine, where she came and helped us in an advisory capacity."

Last night, during the BBC's ten o'clock news bulletin, newsreader Mark Carruthers noted that the threats came from 'dissident' loyalists and that the other (presumably nice) loyalists wanted Ms DeBaroid to come back to Belfast.

Since no loyalist groups are currently on ceasefire, one wonders who these '‘dissident'’ loyalists might be. It would appear that BBC Northern Ireland, adopting the role of apologist for government policy, has created this 'dissident' terminology to help define good loyalist from bad.

Earlier this week, The British Government announced it would give £135,000 to loyalist areas to enable conflict transformation. In June of this year, the British Government announced that £33million had been earmarked for loyalist areas.

Information on previous British Government funding to loyalists, in the shape of arms and intelligence to support campaigns against Catholics and Irish nationalists, is unavailable.

Last year, a study by Deliotte for the Department of Social Development found that Catholics are much more likely to live in areas of weak community infrastructure than Protestants.

Other research, conducted in 2005 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, disproved the claim that Protestants are less likely than Catholics to get Union Peace II funding to build up community infrastructure. Over half the money spent under this heading went to people in Protestant areas. The Department of Finance and Personnel regards the research report as internal and has not published it.

Details of both these reports can be found at The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) website.

Requests for copies of any research undertaken by the Ulster Political Research Group will be met with blank stares.

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