Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Maginness demands funding answers over UDA

SDLP candidate Alban Maginness has called on the first minister’s office to reveal if people linked to the UDA are being funded in new roles with public money.

Reminding Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness that the Sinn Fein man stated he was “absolutely opposed to any funding whatsoever going to the UDA”, Mr Maginness said some prominent figures involved in the UDA-linked Farset group — which sparked a court case over SDLP minister Margaret Ritchie’s 60-day decommissioning deadline — have now left the organisation.

“Where have they gone and who is funding them?

“It is widely known that those people in question are now working in peace and reconciliation roles supposedly funded with money from Europe.

“The first minister’s office need to make it clear who exactly approved this funding,” the North Belfast MLA said, who is also his party’s justice spokesman.

Meanwhile, a DUP blueprint on agri-foods launched by candidate Diane Dodds has demanded that the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland should be accountable to the Assembly.

Mrs Dodds said one of her key priorities will remain the dairy industry “which has been going through very difficult times”.

Insisting her party would press the agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew to bring forward a strategy for the industry.

“We will continue to lobby for whatever assistance is possible from Europe. The DUP also supports moves by processors to develop new innovative products and decrease reliance on commodity products,” she said.

Elsewhere, Sinn Fein European candidate Bairbre de Brun said people need more comprehensive non-discrimination legislation at EU level going beyond employment including access to goods and services and the right to finance, insurance and adequate health services.

“Sinn Fein will promote fuller implementation of employment equality legislation at home to overcome the barriers and negative social attitudes facing older people,” she said.

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