Belfast Telegraph

UDA boss Dee Stitt's charity Charter NI bids for £250,000 of taxpayers money for Belfast building

By Ciaran Barnes and Alan Murray

A charity headed by UDA boss Dee Stitt wants taxpayers to stump up £250,000 so it can redevelop an old building in east Belfast.

But nervous Belfast city councillors are reluctant to fund the project following recent revelations about the notorious terror chief.

Convicted armed robber Stitt’s North Down UDA unit has been behind a campaign of intimidation in Bangor that has resulted in physical attacks and kids threatened.

Despite this, groups connected to him have still managed to pocket huge amounts of public cash handouts including £900,000 from the Assembly’s Social Investment Fund.

Now Charter NI – of which Dee Stitt is the £30,000-a-year Chief Executive – wants Belfast City Council to stump up £250,000 so it can buy the old Gillespie and Wilson building in east Belfast.

HANDOUTS

It asked for the cash from the City Hall’s Strategic Investment Fund during a presentation to councillors before Christmas.

Stitt’s group said £75,000 would be used to buy the Newtownards Road premises and the remaining £175,000 would be spent on refurbishments.

If the handout gets the green light, Charter NI would use the building as its new headquarters.

A council spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a presentation by Charter NI was made to the East Belfast Area Working Group on 27 October 2015.

“Subsequently it was agreed that a report will be drawn up for future consideration. No decision has been taken to fund this or any similar projects.”

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Although Charter NI’s £250,000 funding proposal is under consideration, sources within the City Hall have expressed strong reservations about handing over any public money to a group connected to Dee Stitt.

One politician said: “Charter NI wants £250,000, there’s a working group looking at it but no decision has been made.

“Charter NI made a presentation but businessmen and community and voluntary organisations in the area have indicated privately to councillors that they feel the money should be distributed more widely.

“Almost 30 shops have been closed on the Newtownards Road over the last three to four years and the other groups are saying they’ve been starved of funds, so to hand over £250,000 to just one group would be a big decision that would cause problems.”

Embarrassed by Sunday Life revelations about just how much public cash his groups have been raking in, Dee Stitt has told UDA members in North Down that they’ll be in “big trouble” if they are found to be talking to this newspaper.

Consumed with paranoia he has even banned them from taking mobile phones into meetings.

“Stitt rang everyone last Monday and told them that phones were banned from band and UDA meetings,” said a source within the terror gang.

“He said that anyone caught talking to Sunday Life would be in big trouble.

SPLIT

“He’s a paranoid wreck at the moment.”

UDA sources also told this newspaper that Stitt’s unit in North Down is now hopelessly split between his ‘Spice Boy’ crew and “old-timers”.

“The veterans want nothing to do with Stitt and his gang of steroid-taking wannabes,” added an insider.

“The old-timers are gathering around a long standing UDA member from the Kilcooley estate. They don’t recognise Stitt as commander and want Jimmy Birch (UDA east Belfast leader) to replace him.

“Stitt’s gang is embarrassing. They parade around in tight-fitting t-shirts showing off their steroid muscles.

“It’s like a throwback to the days of Jim Gray and his Spice Boys gang.”

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