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11th April 2005

Does it Matter Who Wins?

Permalink 11:23:37 am, Categories: Northern Ireland, Politics, Election 2005, 780 words  

WILL the average Joe be able to tell the difference in post-election Northern Ireland, whether the DUP/UU top the Unionist vote, whether Sinn Fein beat the SDLP in the nationalist one, or who wins overall?

My prediciton is no. For all the money and effort spent electioneering, the parties seem to largely ignore the big issues that actually affect people on the ground. What of Belfast and Northern Ireland's ever growing waste problem? What of punishment beatings, as news broke yesterday that the IRA have appointed someone in North Belfast to deal out their own brand of justice to 'anti-social elements' there? What of the fact that the police and the ARA seem petrified of organised crime - only moving in to act once the perpetrators have been ousted from their gang? All these stories were reported in the local press over the weekend.


Northern Ireland's Recycling Record is Rubbish

Friday's Newsletter reported Northern Ireland is sitting on a 'Waste Time Bomb', the end result of which will be a huge bill for the ratepayer!! A senior lecturer at the University of Ulster has said that 90% of our waste is being sent to landfill sites, despite highly publicised campaigns to encourage people to recycle. The EU has set a target of 35% for 2020. While that is some time off, that is one huge gap between the reality and the goal! If we don't meet the target, local councils could be fined and you can bet your ass the public will foot the bill through the rates.

One part of the reason for this is the inaction of the local councils. While some areas have multiple bins to facilitate recycling, in my local area in Belfast, we have one black bin emptied every week. It being a largely student area, it's not practical to expect residents to drive to the nearest recycling depot. However, I did drive to Olympia leisure centre to discover they don't even have recycling facilities for newspapers!!

Criminal Gangs Run Our Streets

Yesterday's Sunday Life reported that

THE IRA appointed a hardline enforcer in north Belfast to clamp down on anti-social elements - and growing dissident activity - just a week before Gerry Adams urged the terror group to cease all violence.

And Sunday Life can reveal that the Provo boss, who won his freedom from prison under the Good Friday Agreement, supervised a brutal punishment beating doled out to a teenager.

Full 'Enforcer' Story

What's going to happen to these anti-social elements if/when the IRA goes? Are the police suddenly going to be welcomed into these areas to deal with them? Even if they are, will they be able to do so without fear of repercussions based on false claims of 'brutality' by delinquents who know too well how damaging these allegations can be?

Who has so far put forward serious proposals to solve this problem in their campaign?

Law Enforcers Afraid of Terrorists

Related to the above story, the Sunday Life yesterday also reports on the arrest of Jim Gray, former UDA brigadier in East Belfast. He was arrested on Thursday, and the ARA have stated they intend to pursue his criminal assets.

Surely if the police knew he was benefitting from organised crime this week, they must surely have known it 3 weeks ago when he was still in the organisation. Does that mean that the only reason they didn't arrest him was because they were afraid of recriminations from the largest loyalist paramilitary group? That would explain why so much of the ARA's success has been at the expense of ousted (Gray) and dead (Jim Johnston) loyalists.

Now I'm all for recovering as much money as possible from these scum, but why wait until they're no longer in the paramilitaries? The police should be standing up to these criminals! The ARA decided to go after Jim Gray (aka Doris Day) only days after he was ousted from the UDA - it'd take a lot to convince me that the proximity of these two events was mere coincidence.

30th/31st March - Media reports Gray ousted from East Belfast
1st April - Reports begin to surface that the ARA is chasing Gray
8th April - Gray arrested in Co Down, attempting to flee the country
9th April - Gray makes it to court

In all seriousness, which parties have put forward serious propsals to deal with any of these problems? If any have, which of them have made it a priority in their campaign? And how many are much too busy with important things like where/when they can fly flags at council buildings?

So in reality - what difference will it make to the average man or woman who wins the election?


Comment from: MERC [Visitor]
Permalink 10th October 2005 @ 13:56
Comment from: beano [Member] ·
MERC, I think you're looking for this story
Permalink 12th October 2005 @ 18:11


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