Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist Dee Stitt 'not a fit person' for charity position says commission

 

By Ciaran Barnes

UDA boss Dee Stitt has been left red-faced after he was told that he was not a fit person to act as a trustee of a charity.

The Kilcooley Community Forum, of which he has been a leading member, was restructured recently, and has now been granted charitable status.

Convicted robber turned Charter NI chief executive Stitt applied for a position on its Trustee Board only to be knocked back by the Charity Commission over concerns about his criminality and how his home was targeted in a recent police drugs raid.

In a move that has been ridiculed by UDA members, he then sought advice about appealing the decision from an ex-IRA prisoners' support group.

Referring to Stitt's failed bid to get on the Trustee Board at the Kilcooley Community Forum, a Charity Commission spokeswoman said it could not comment "as this is considered to be their personal data".

The decision has led to questions being asked about how the crime boss continues to hold onto his position as the £35,000 per year chief executive of the UDA-linked Charter NI, which is also a registered charity.

A UDA insider asked: "If the Charity Commission is saying that Stitt is not a proper person to act as a Trustee for the Kilcooley Community Forum, then how can he continue as CEO of Charter NI?

"After he was knocked back, he approached an ex-IRA prisoners' group and asked it to give him an endorsement and send it to the Charity Commission, which it did, but he was still refused."

Our source said the refusal has embarrassed Stitt as he was chairman of the Kilcooley Community Forum and loved to take a lead role at meetings involving other agencies, including senior PSNI officers and government officials.

"He's been left with a red face, especially after he ran to the Provos to help with his appeal to the Charity Commission," added the UDA insider.

Stitt, who has spent the past six weeks sunning himself at his Bulgarian bolthole, is due back in Northern Ireland later this week.

He is returning to find his East Belfast UDA brigade in chaos, with its leader and his best pal, Jimmy 'Millions' Birch (left), the target of an internal coup led by ex-life sentence prisoner Davy McMaster.

On a flying visit back to Northern Ireland in July, sneaky Stitt reached out to McMaster behind Birch's back, telling him that he would support his takeover moves.

He did this in the hope that he could continue as North Down UDA commander and Charter NI chief executive. McMaster has the backing of four of the East Belfast UDA's six battalions, with only Birch's own Tullycarnet unit staying loyal to him.

Stitt's North Down battalion is split on who to endorse. Knowing that the knives are out for her husband, Birch's wife Caroline, the Operations Manager at Charter NI, has resigned from what she says is "95 per cent of the voluntary groups I sit on".

In a scathing social media post, she added: "I'm not listening to your crap any more, my life is passing by and from now on I'll not be holding back."

Birch's problems began after four East Belfast UDA battalions held a secret meeting last month at which they expressed support for Davy McMaster's takeover.

Three men blamed Birch on having their houses raided by police. After the meeting broke up, cruel graffiti about the loyalist was sprayed on the Comber Greenway. The McMaster faction have since made it known that Birch and his supporters have only five guns at their disposal. The only two that are of use, modern handguns, are held by Dee Stitt's North Down UDA.

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph

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