So we hear that the Executive is cracking down on the UDA big time. Social Development minister Margaret Ritchie is threatening to cut off £1.2m in “conflict transformation” funding if the UDA don’t be good boys and stop criminality. Oh, and they have to make a show of being interested in decommissioning. The UDA has 60 days to improve itself if it wants to avoid a slap on the wrist.
The most obvious thing to say about this is that it’s a PR response to the UDA-orchestrated rioting in Carrick and Kilcooley. This immediately draws scrutiny on the “conflict transformation” package, which is going openly to the UDA as a carrot to bring it into the New Dispensation. A lot more money than that goes to loyalist areas in grants for “community projects”, a huge number of which are just the paramilitaries in suits. A serious audit of that spending might put the willies up the UDA.
Not to mention the fortune the UDA makes through being up to its oxters in organised crime, as reported [pdf] by the Brits’ own monitoring body. While this cash keeps rolling in, plus the community funding, the most the UDA have to fear is that Margaret Ritchie will be annoyed at them. Yeah, they’re really quaking in their bovver boots.