Showing posts from March, 2016

Stop rewarding paramilitaries

The BBC’s Spotlight programme recently investigated a murky tale of intimidation and the relationships between paramilitaries and the authorities, in Bangor.   When unwanted flags were erected in Clandeboye Estate, the police, council officials and politicians advised residents’ representatives to negotiate with a local UDA commander for their removal.  The documentary revealed the extent to which paramilitaries still exert an influence on loyalist areas and how funding finds its way to the community organisations they direct. 
None of this is very surprising, though it is not often reported in such detail.  Not only do paramilitaries continue to exist; to an extent the ‘peace process’ was built upon entrenching the influence of these groups and their proxies within loyalist and republican neighbourhoods.  The old tactics of intimidation and violence may have been supplemented by a plethora of residents’ associations, cultural societies and community workers, all funded by public m…