MLAs blast ‘utterly weak’ anti-paramilitary plans

UVF mural in inner-east Belfast
UVF mural in inner-east Belfast

Political rivals have put the Sinn Fein/DUP-led Executive under fire over its failure in obtaining funding for its strategy to combat paramilitarism.

The TUV, UUP, and Alliance Party were among those lining up to condemn the fact that the UK Government has denied funding to Stormont in order to implement its “Executive Action Plan”, published in July 2016 with the endorsement of the First Minister, Deputy First Minister, and independent justice minister Claire Sugden.

For full details of that story, see here.

The erstwhile Alliance leader has asked when exactly the Executive will produce an improved plan to tackle paramilitarism, after it was revealed its existing one is not detailed enough to warrant funding.

David Ford dubbed the plan “utterly weak” and demanded to know when a new one will be produced, saying he has submitted urgent Assembly questions on the matter.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt has declared the Executive’s failure to secure funding “embarrassing”.

He said that the DUP/Sinn Fein-led Executive has “stumbled into the first hurdle” on the issue, adding that they seem “very good at making announcements”, but not at fulfilling them.

Meanwhile, TUV leader Jim Allister said he was “not at all surprised” at the failure to obtain funding.

Referring to Sinn Fein denials of police claims that IRA structures are still in existence, he asked how the Executive could tackle such groups when Sinn Fein make up “half the government”.

See here for Bobby Storey’s much-derided “butterfly” denial last year.