Making a living from the peace process

Kenny Donaldson appeared on BBC Radio Ulster  Evening Extra on Friday 30thAugust.

The principal reason for his interview was in relation to the re-appointment of Judith Thompson as Victims’ Commissioner.

Leaving aside the car crash interview which he gave [ more on a future blog] he said this: “ a lot of people are paid as a result of the peace process, their livings [sic] depend on it”.

The point being made  was not immediately obvious.

Was he criticising those people? Was he expressing concern that if the peace process broke down , they would no longer be paid?

Perhaps a clue is to be found in an exchange he and I had in May of this year, where , out of the blue, he accused me of stating that he earned money out of victims. I asked him for proof of where I had made this allegation but his reply was:

“play your smart lawyer tricks with someone else..a small number of people are obsessed with money, most are not. Unsure what camp you are in”.

So let’s analyse that. I have never applied for nor received any money from the Victims and Survivors Service, which doles it out on behalf of the Executive Office.

Let’s look at South East Fermanagh Foundation, company number  NI 606566.

It has filed accounts to 31stMarch 2018. SEFF’s income from grants was £762,360. It is set to receive £705,903 in the current financial year.

Undoubtedly good works are done down there. Macramé, bus runs, musical evenings.

So how many people are employed? The answer is ten.

How much do they earn? Well, the individual salaries are not listed . But here is the interesting thing. These ten people cost the taxpayer, you and me , £348.000 in the last financial year. How much did ten people cost in the previous year? £173,000.

So why did the wage bill for the same number of employees at SEFF double in one year?

Perhaps Kenny Donaldson knows the answer.

Meanwhile we have the ridiculous spectacle of one state paid individual , Donaldson, criticising another, Thompson, for not doing her job.

Twice asked by the interviewer “will you work with her?’ , twice Donaldson failed to answer.

Is it because his living depends on the peace process?

Soon , Dear Reader, I will blog about the victims’ legislation.

Stay solvent!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Markethill, a town devoted to charity

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?

The strange silence of Willie Frazer PartII

Regular readers will have read Part I.

Wille, when tasked by the media about the alleged missing money , said “There is no money missing. Every penny we get goes towards victims. There were paperwork errors, nothing more than that”

You might suppose that Willie learned a lesson  and that paperwork would be to the forefront of  what he is pleased to call his mind.

Willie is involved in two victims’ groups, which are non profit making, allegedly.

The first in time was FAIR. It is no longer possible to access its website, which has been suspended. FAIR  was registered with HMRC as a charity. However, new laws have been applicable to FAIR for several years now. It is required to register with the Charity Commission and , in due course , to provide statements of financial dealings. It was notified of this obligation over a year ago but to date FAIR has provided no accounts. So FAIR’s financial dealings are a mystery.

The other organisation which Willie is intimately involved with is the Family Research and Policy Unit. It too is non profit making and is therefore a charity. There is no record of this organisation with the Charity Commission at all. So you, the tax payer cannot find out its  financial affairs through the Commissioner. In fact there is no trace of this organisation , except premises in Markethill. No telephone number, no email address and no website.

Worse, this second organisation receives government funding. I asked the Victims and Survivors Service  for details of any conditions applied by it and any accounts held by them.

Their reply was that they did require FRPU to be registered as a charity and they had no accounts for it.This despite making a grant of over £50,000 to it. So you , the public, who fund this organisation can know nothing about it.

So the two vehicles used by Willie to push his “victims'”  agenda are not transparent.

The big  question is, how does Willie pay his way? How does he travel back and forward to London so frequently? What does he do with any public money he gets? Does he have access to any other money? Is he in receipt of benefits? Do individuals or groups ,  make charitable contributions? To whom does he owe money?

Can he tell us which victims he has helped? Has he any vouching documentation? How many cookers did he buy? Were they new or second hand?

The real issue here is that Frazer promotes himself as a non-sectarian victims’ campaigner. It’s hard to see how he qualifies on either score.

Willie continues to say it’s not about the money, perhaps that’s a message to you and me that he is going to keep it a secret.

Let’s wait and see.