Go to Markethill, on a Sunday, about noon , as I did today and only the ungodly will be abroad.
Outside the many churches and gospel halls from Ahorey, scene of a brutal murder twelve years ago, to downtown Markethill the rows of German cars and four by fours are testament to how good God has been to those who were on their knees praying with or on their neighbours.
But there may be something charitable in the air in this town.
On the Mowhan Road , behind expensive wooden gates, and signposted by tasteful signs, nestles FAIR, in a large house. This is William Frazer’s flagship.
Back in the town centre FRPU is to be found, partly financed by the Victims and Survivors Service. [you and me]
When I first sighted it, two large men were standing outside. Later, when I approached on foot, they had disappeared. FRPU inhabits two unused shops with plate glass fronts. On display are drums, army uniforms, photographs relating to Loyalism, a copy of the RUC memorial photograph of those officers who died on duty. If my father’s photograph had been displayed, I would have been angry at this nonsense. Other loyalist bric-a-brac was also to be seen.
The door to this shrine to Loyalism was open but I decided not to enter. Admiral Willie was not on board the cruiser, nor it seems, were any of his shipmates.
Around the corner was a charity devoted to Eastern European refugees.
Then there was the Newry and Armagh Caring for Victims Centre. Clearly, from their window display, a Loyalist organisation. I wonder who they are? Could it be Admiral Willie’s frigate?
Up the street are the former premises of SAVER/NAVER. This company was dissolved on 21 February 2014. It collapsed in a welter of allegations about £200,000 of funding. It, too , was a victims’ organisation.
The word ‘largesse’ comes to mind. £50 million was allocated by OFMDFM, for victims and survivors in the period 2011-2015. I wonder how much of that actually made a difference to the 3,500 families affected by the Troubles?
Aside from Willie, Emma Pengelly/Little is a native and was a SpAd and minister at the relevant time. I’d ask her about the £50 million but she doesn’t speak to me after I criticised her own love of largesse. Perhaps it’s in the water as well?