Audio: Arlene Foster on UDA boss Dee Stitt ‘stepping down’

A UDA boss has publicly snubbed First Minister Arlene Foster’s desire to see him stand down from an organisation into which her department recently poured £1.7 million.

Last month, Mrs Foster told the News Letter she believed that Dee Stitt, who is chief executive of Charter NI, was stepping down from his £35,000-a-year post.

MIke Nesbitt claims the first minister should consider her position

MIke Nesbitt claims the first minister should consider her position

Portraying the convicted criminal as a distraction, the DUP leader said: “I do welcome the fact that he is stepping down because I think that he became the story. Charter NI is much, much broader than Dee Stitt.”

In the same interview, Mrs Foster declined to say that she regretted being pictured with the north Down man, but admitted that “it is a bit frustrating that the story became about Dee Stitt as opposed to what the scheme was doing in east Belfast”.

This morning the Irish News has reported that Mr Stitt is back at his desk at Charter NI, just days after leading a UDA wreath-laying ceremony in Bangor on Sunday.

(l-r) Councillor Sharon Skillen; Dee Stitt, CEO Charter NI; First Minister Arlene Foster; Drew Haire, Chairperson Charter NI; Caroline Birch, Project Manager

(l-r) Councillor Sharon Skillen; Dee Stitt, CEO Charter NI; First Minister Arlene Foster; Drew Haire, Chairperson Charter NI; Caroline Birch, Project Manager