The Taughmonagh estate has always had a reputation for being a bit rough. To be more accurate, it has a reputation for being a bit of a hellhole, due not least to its being dominated by the UDA. But even so, the tarring and feathering of a local man accused of drug dealing seems, well, a little flamboyant.
If there is some gallows humour to be taken out of the situation, it was provided by UDA spokesman Frankie Gallagher. Frankie, with an admirably straight face, told the media that the UDA was not responsible. Local residents, he alleged, had come to the UDA clamouring for action, but the death squads had told them to go to the cops. The irate residents, according to Frankie, had rejected this as insufficient and taken the law into their own hands.
Maybe I’m being cynical, but this sounds like a load of cobblers to me. I don’t believe for a minute that something like this could happen in Taughmonagh without UDA involvement. Nor, incidentally, do I believe the UDA has an ethical problem with drug dealers, at least not as long as they pay their cut. Another sceptic is Social Development minister Margaret Ritchie, who has been making renewed noises about stopping the £1.2m “conflict transformation” grant to the UDA. The sooner the better, say I.
This may be completely coincidental, but I also notice the dismembered body found in a wheelie bin a little while back also belonged to somebody from Taughmonagh, and a UDA man forbye. Anyway, all this doesn’t say much for the new era of confidence in working-class Protestant communities.
Rud eile: I couldn’t help noticing the latest convert to the Stormont parties’ campaign for 12.5% corporation tax. It is none other than Archbishop Brady. Apparently the Catholic Church now favours a low tax regime. Can there be any doubt about its comfortable position in the new Norn Iron?
Rud eile fós: Gail Walker doesn’t have anything really worth getting stuck into in this week’s column. If you’re interested, there’s the Madeleine case, Big Brother, Christina Aguilera and Prince Charles’ missus.