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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gavin Robinson’s lost afternoon

On 24th March I attended a meeting, addressed by Tobias Ellwood and attended by , seemingly , a wide range of people , including victims of Libyan supplied Semtex.

Elwood, he who told the Commons that on a salary of almost £90,000, he was having to watch the pennies, tried to establish his bona fides with us by telling how his brother was killed in the Bali bombing and how he , Tobias, had served as a soldier in Northern Ireland and was almost shot.

The big message which his masters in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had given him to deliver was that HMG had no intention of making any effort to access £9.4 billion of Libyan assets, held in the UK.

Speaker after speaker criticised this position and HMG’s lack of activity. Not one politician joined in the criticism, neither Robinson, Paisley, Elliott or Kinahan. Voters should be aware of that. At the end of the meeting they fell over themselves to thank Ellwood and have their photograph taken with him. [Organised by Frazer]

I asked Ellwood to go to the UN Security Council and have the resolution , freezing assets, amended. Toby is practising the Big Tory Putdown. He scoffed and asked me did I think that Russia and China would support that. Why not? Why not try?

The mood of the meeting was summed up by Jim Allister MLA who told Ellwood that he had no plan for victims and that his purpose in addressing us was to keep us under control in case we rocked the diplomatic boat and big business in the UK did not get lucrative contracts in the new Libya.

So where did Gav get his impression of “positive ministerial engagement” Assuming that Gav was not able to make up his own mind or was perhaps asleep throughout the meeting, he was relying on none other than Willie Frazer. Willie, who never misses an opportunity to witter, except when Martin McGuinness is in the room, told the meeting that he had had a private meeting with Ellwood and that it was the first meeting with a minister that he had not been thrown out of. This is classic Willie. Establish your credentials as a no nonsense man of the people. A rabble rouser who is a thorn in the side of the establishment. Do you remember Paisley doing that , while all the while negotiating behind backs?

It’s interesting that a man with terrorist connections can be afforded a private meeting with a British Government minister. Times have not changed. I wonder what was discussed?

Perhaps Robinson would like to tell us what he thought was positive. The suggestion that once a new UN backed, unelected government is imposed in Libya and all the militias are bribed or killed, a committee of the Libyan government will have a think about compensating us? How likely is that in the lifetime of any existing victim?

Perhaps it’s another example of the Unionists cosying up to the Tories. Perhaps some have aspirations to do business in Libya or have mates who want to do so. Perhaps Jeffrey, Her Majesty’s Trade Envoy to Egypt, has a hand in it. Who knows?

Will big Gav tell us or even make a really angry speech about it?

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.

The victims’ industry

It must be interesting to be one of the folk that inhabits this strange world.

One day you are an ordinary Joe or Josephine and the next , courtesy of the PIRA’s bullet or Semtex, you are propelled into the heady world of Victimhood.

This means that your pronouncements, however crap they are, have to be solemnly  followed and that you must be invited to every “Victims'” event known to man.

At these occasions, you must get on your fake tan, do up your hair with the latest blonde  rinse and if you are a girl, wear a nice frock.

Why? Because a reporter will ask about your feelings and you must give a sound  bite.

Where will you go? Westminster, Stormont, Titanic, anywhere where the State thinks you can be plonked to do the least amount of harm.

Because the last thing the State wants is you , bleating and crying all over the place, annoying people and frightening the children of the Peace.

So the more silly events you can go to and speak at , like todays European Day of Victims , the less impact your story will have.

Occasionally , just for show, a State official will turn up, to express his solidarity , support and condolences and you will go away, energised.

Why? Because you were at the Top Table. You had a Reserved Seat. A Minister, some Tory Boy from London spoke to you.

Every so often, when the Peace Process is wobbly, Liz sends a family member over. What Joy! You get invited to Hillsborough, which is owned by the masses but which everyone pretends is owned by the Queen. You get on your best bib and tucker and you go through security , as if anyone would want to kill any Royal Prince.

At these events , if you are lucky , one of her relatives will speak to you, asking if you have ‘come far’.

You will go home, glowing with the fairy dust of Royalty.

The next day you will be just what you were, the son, daughter, husband, wife or other, of a victim of the Troubles. In that still quiet moment, before dawn, you will reflect on what might have been.

And you will, hopefully ,  rejoice that you are not one of the 268 people who took their life in 2014.

But also reflect on this. Not one organiser of any event that you have been to cares much for those 268 dead.

If they did, the events would be completely different.

Who cares about victims?

While victims look for

Closure

Justice

Compensation

something personal to themselves

the victims professionals, mostly cloistered within the Victims’ Commission, bicker amongst themselves. See Ann Travers’ frank assessment of her colleagues. To be fair, it must be difficult, as an ex RUC/UDR man to sit with Evelyn Glenholmes, but that is the task they chose.

Aside from bickering, it’s hard to see what they deliver for the 3,500 victims, aside from sound bites and platitudes.

Nothing will come from any of it , of course, because the State has a vested interest in keeping victims as quiet as possible , in order to appease SF/IRA.

The members of these organisations serve that purpose well. They strut and prance, taking photos of the ‘reserved’ place they have been given at a conference. While out in the real world Northern Ireland has an appalling suicide rate and a crisis with mental health.

You’ll travel far to find these issues foremost among the “Victimers”

 

 

 

The strange silence of Willie Frazer

Willie often says it’s not about the money.

Let’s examine one aspect of that.

The media reported that FAIR , an organisation which he says he represents got £350,000 of EU money and a further £1,000,000 from OFMDFM. It’s not clear what that was spent on but no doubt Willie has the accounts somewhere in Armagh.

FAIR is supposed to be a victims’  organisation. Mysteriously, a second similar organisation has set up shop in the tiny town of Markethill, [pop.1,652].

The new organisation is called the Family Research and Policy Unit. Its aim is to “provide an advocacy service for those affected by the Northern Ireland Troubles”.

This organisation has a Board, though it’s not possible to find it by an internet search.

It has an email address and when you click on it , the emails are addressed to Willie Frazer.

There is no record on the internet of its activity.

More interestingly , it is funded by you and me, through the Victims and Survivors Service.

So, Markethill, best known for George Lambert V.C. is the go-to town for victims’ services.

Last year the FRPU, not the FRU, advertised for an advocacy case manager. This person had to have, inter alia, “an in depth knowledge and geography[sic] of unsolved murders within the South Armagh area”. I wonder if that includes the murders committed by the Glenanne Gang? Or the murders of the Reavey  brothers in 1976? I suppose ‘fenian looking people’ should not apply.

So what is the character of Willie Frazer, the man getting your money?

Well, apart from being a semi-illiterate bigot, he has consorted with Loyalist terrorists.

On 2 June 2003 the Secretary of State wrote to him in the following terms: “You are unfit to have firearms and ammunition as the police have intelligence from a reliable source to indicate that you have recently associated with loyalist terrorist organisations.”

The rest of his antics are in the public domain , Abu Hamsa impersonations, photographed holding a rifle, etc etc.

The shocking thing about him is that taxpayers money is going to him, from an organisation that was set up for the benefit of ALL victims and that he was appointed by McCue and Co. to represent victims of Libyan supplied Semtex.

FRPU got £50, 150 from  VSS it would be interesting to know the terms. Does this organisation fund other groups with a particular interest?

But what of his silence? I hear you ask. Willie Frazer, the man who calls Republicans scum etc , was utterly silent when Martin McGuinness , astonishingly , addressed those whom he had made victims. Why? because Willie’s hosts were his funders. Stupid and all that he is, he’s not daft when “its about the money”.