Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Jackie, fancy telling UDA to disperse instead?

'Leading loyalist' Jackie McDonald (UDA brigadier, golfing division) has spoken of his annual distress at the Twelfth which he describes as the worst day of his year, sparking criticism from some quarters.

Jackie believes that the Orange Order should consider walking one way to the field before dispersing (i.e, not parading back home again.) This, he believes, would defuse tensions. But actually the idea isn't new.

It's already been discussed by the Orange Order. A spokesman points out that with tens of thousands of people dispersing at different times police would find the situation impossible to control.

Understandably the PSNI have told the Order they do not consider it a realistic option.

Mr McDonald, however, if he really wants to be constructive, might consider having a word with his UDA mates about their input into tension-raising over the Twelfth.

Maybe he could call for the removal of all those UDA flags strung up on lampposts like the territory markers that they are. In fact, maybe he could explain why this illegal paramilitary gang is still in situ almost 20 years after the loyalist warlords declared ceasefire.

This Twelfth you have only to look at the massive proliferation of loyalist paramilitary flags including - most prominently - those of the increasingly powerful and dangerous UVF to get a glimpse of the malign grip these criminal gangs have on loyalist working class areas.

This, tellingly, does not seem to bother in the least our democratically elected representatives. Particularly the unionist ones.

Where are the voices that should be telling the UDA and the UVF to take a hike?

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