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McGuinness needs to be reminded that UDA's paramilitary activity is not a thing of the past

letter of the day: CHARTER FUNDS

Published 20/10/2016

In your article headlined "McGuinness rejects 'nonsense' that Charter NI funds benefit paramilitaries" (News, October 17), the deputy First Minister is quoted saying: "If we were to be employing a rule of thumb that everybody who was involved in conflict in the past has no role to play in the future, then I am afraid there would be no future for any of us."

We have also heard the same sentiment from the First Minister and DUP MLA Emma Little Pengelly in recent days.

The problem is that UDA activity is not in the past, as they would have us believe. It is happening every day, with tragic consequences, as your report on the death of Nathan Ritchie clearly shows (Online, October 17).

The detailed BBC Spotlight reports on UDA activity in recent months and articles in your paper and Sunday Life are unequivocal about ongoing UDA drug dealing and intimidation and the UDA leaders overseeing this criminality in the east Belfast and Bangor areas.

These detailed investigations are either true, or they are not.

When the PSNI is asked to clarify the position, they say it's a matter for politicians.

Perhaps Claire Sugden, our Justice Minister, can enlighten us? As a member of the Executive, she is also complicit in this funding decision.

However, for confirmation, look no further than the people of Clandyboye and east Belfast. They know they are living under the boot of the UDA, while now watching the Executive provide a veneer of legitimacy to criminal UDA leaders in the oversight and distribution of money for community projects, further increasing their control of these areas.

To paraphrase Martin McGuinness, if, in 2016, the Executive's rule of thumb is championing and supporting active paramilitary criminals at the expense of the communities they terrorise, then, truly, there is no future for any of us.

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