Sean Mallory takes a poke at the cozy relationship between the unionist political class and the UDA.
Over in the East, Belfast that is, not the Middle East, Arlene Foster was giving away £1.7 million of the Social Investment Fund to the UDA under the guise of Charter NI. Charter NI is a front for the UDA. Such a controversial decision has been called in to question by the SDLP. Foster based her decision on the recommendation of the Social Investment Fund's (SIF) eight-strong East Belfast Steering Panel. A panel made up of UDA members some of whom are paid members of Charter NI!
Ms Emma Little Penagally, chair of the finance committee and whose father, a loyalist gun-runner with direct past connections to the DUP, re-iterated that demanding and exacting protocols had to be passed before she gave it her full support. Which is supposed to make it a kind of OK now.
Old loyalist gaol bird, Charter NI's chief executive, Dee Stitt, was unavailable for comment as was his cousin Billy, another old loyalist gaol bird, who under normal circumstances would often be seen behind the counter of Fonzi's ice cream parlour on the Newtownards Road (owned by Dee) making ice-cream treats for customers.
Lately, thanks to Dee, he found himself in the benefits queue after being sacked for giving himself self-administered treats, not of an ice cream flavour, while behind the Fonzi counter!
To rub sprinkles into the SDLP wound, DUP MP Nigel Dodds and DUP Stormont Minister for Communities Paul Givan, visited Lower Shankill Community Centre (LSCC), a day after a BBC Spotlight investigation in to the workings of the said centre revealed it to be a UDA headquarters, specifically C Company headquarters!
Unabashed by such revelations, Foster and her DUP colleagues sang the praises of both community organisations and the hard work that they do within their community. What Dodds and Givan have failed to mention is just how much the UDA on the Shankill are in line for?