”Cash for Ash’ and ‘On the Run’ letters’ – by Mark Neale Special Advisor to former First Minister David Trimble 

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There has been much chat and talk particularly among the politicos about the effects of the “cash for ash” on the Unionist community.
Very surprisingly I by chance met and spoke with a senior officer in the Orange Order who lamented the fact that in reality the DUP and SF can’t and won’t ever work together even on the most basic issues. 

His view is that both have their own agendas based on a corrupt outlook. 

Amazingly his view was that the DUP were seeking to financially benefit their supporters, basically cash for ash or even the massive overspend on the community halls initiative. 

He could have added cash for Portadown and Lisburn in the dying hours of this government. His view – buying votes! 

SF on the other hand he thought was corrupt in that they sought benefits for their own through amnesties, OTR letters and getting government to rewrite history through legacy inquiries! 

What made this critique so damning was that I know this individual has been a strong DUP supporter over the years. 
Some may quibble and say again – that’s only one person’s view or it’s anecdotal but the only voices being raised are all saying the same thing. 

SF and the DUP can’t govern NI for the benefit of the people of NI. They are only capable of governing in their own interest. 

Any election that returns both these parties, particularly if it is based on dog whistle sectarian sloganising, will condemn us, both Protestant and catholic, Unionist and nationalist, loyalist and republican to a future devoid of any hope of progress or improvement!

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  1. And the dissenter, the socialist, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Jew, the Muslim, those of us who don’t give a toss about flags and symbols, those of us who walk on a piece of stone and muck surrounded by water that belongs to nobody and to everybody, will not as we have never done, go sectarian tribal for outdated and ever dangerous jingoistic and nationalistic ideals with no ideas.

  2. The re-writing history lament of Unionism is incredible thing for Nationalists like me of the “1968/9 era” onward to get our heads around.
    Unionism tends to re-write the History of the conflict more any other group.
    ~UVF were killing from 1966
    ~UVF murdered John Scullion then the murder was covered up by RUC until family had the body exhumed. ~UPV were blowin-up infrastructure from 1968.
    ~By early 1969 RUC were beating unarmed protesters off the streets.
    ~ July 1969 RUC beat Sam Devenney to death in his own home in front of his family.
    ~Burntollet ambush is well documented on the RUC & B Specials involvement & manipulation of events.
    ~The Pogrom of August 1969 was against Nationalist areas & Lord Scarman found & recorded the truth about the victims.
    ~He also recorded the fact that 90% of the property destroyed was Nationalist property.
    ~Aug/Sept 1969 Unionist Premier gave an Unconditional Amnesty to all involved in the Pogrom.
    ~Main beneficiaries of the Amnesty were the State forces (Scarman makes that clear)
    ~British Army killed people in summer 1970 during an illegal( under British Law) curfew.
    ~1971 saw Unionism & UK bring forth One-sided Interment without trial.
    ~Dec 1971 saw the 1st Major Bomb atrocity. It was against Nationalists in McGurks Bar.
    ~Proof is now emerging about the State covering this crime up as RUC did in 1966 Scullion case.
    ~Jan 1972 saw the 1st Major shooting atrocity, Bloody Sunday.

    What is amazing is that more people from my community did not take arms up after these few short but very instructive years.
    Though the IRA will not admit it their early campaign was fought by people who believed they were reacting to events – at that stage they knew they were not making the agenda. That did happen in the next few years.
    In no way would I try to excuse some of the awful actions of Nationalism’s armed groups but I will not tell lies either to myself or others.
    We Nationalists were very much aware that it was the State who were committing illegal actions against us in many guises.
    Unionism started this Conflict, that is an historical fact. Nationalists victims were the vast Majority of victims of the start of this Unionist Conflict. The first majot atrocities were inflicted on Nationaism by the State and various of their agents.
    When the British Army came onto the streets they were send to Derry days before being sent to Nationalist areas under threat. They were sent to Derry because the State had lost control of city. That is why Chichester-Clarke asked the MoD for troops.
    So no more BS from Unionism if they want to try with Nationalism to build a future centred around 100% Equality in every aspect of life here.

  3. Eamonn, this tired old ‘both sides as bad as each other’ tripe just won’t wash here. SF have been even handed, if uninspiring, in government and consistently reached out to all sections of the community. The DUP have been the opposite- venal, mean spirited, sectarian and disrespectful of everyone outside of their vote constituency. Give us all a break, Eamonn.

    • Agree 100% . When are people gonna stop making this green and orange and see it for what it is pure corruption . The dup only looked after their own and went back on the GFA . Hopefully the electorate wake up

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