Frustration over RUC widows’ funding

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The chair of the RUC George Cross Widows’ Association has said she feels as though steps that resulted in its funding being cut off over a year ago were intended to force the organisation to “give up the ghost”.

Chairwoman Janice Taylor said their automatic £38,000 annual funding has been stopped and is asking why Justice Minister David Ford says he has not received any of their application forms to renew it.

However, Mr Ford said it was the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) that instigated the change in funding rules, and said the association has not yet submitted an application.

“We put our application in before April last year,” Mrs Taylor said. “We have the minutes. They said we would be funded – but it was rejected.

She added: “We weren’t stupid, greedy or naive but we were promised four years of funding by Patten and we only got two.

“We told DOJ (Department of Justice) that under Patten we were to be taken care of; DOJ responded that Patten was just recommendations – but they are not cherry picking his other recommendations.”

After their first application was rejected she said the DOJ told them they would have to use a consultant to complete it.

“The agenda changed,” she said. The association’s funding was due in April 2013 so they have now been without funding for over a year.

“We can’t see how everything we are posting and emailing fails to get to them. We get the feeling that someone feels that if they frustrate us enough we’ll just give up the ghost.”

Mr Ford told the BBC yesterday: “They have plenty of time and assistance but they have yet to make an application.”

A DOJ spokesman said: “On 14 November 2013 the department received an application for funding from the RUC GC Widows’ Association, however this application was incomplete and could not be assessed.

“Departmental officials subsequently met with representatives from the association to provide advice on developing a suitable grant application.

“Officials met on two further occasions in December 2013 with representatives of the association to provide assistance in developing the grant application form.”

The spokesman added: “At no stage did the department suggest that a consultant be engaged to complete the grant application form.

“Despite repeated requests the department has not received a grant application form.”