The Newtownabbey Councillor stated: “The Government has stated an outright lie when it says its last allocation of £135,000 was not condemned. The Alliance Party condemned it utterly, and still does, for it has delivered nothing. Likewise, we condemn utterly further allocations of money as peace bribes, and we challenge the Government to publish, in detail, the precise strategy they are funding, fully costed with timescales and identification of precisely who is responsible for it. As custodians of public money, they have a duty to be transparent.
“People resent paying hard-earned taxes for it to be used to fund organisations which have not even stated an intention to end violence. Worse still, many courageous people within our most deprived communities have stood up against paramilitarism for 35 years – only to find the Government apparently siding with the paramilitaries!
“This is money for self-appointed UDA representatives who received no mandate at the last elections from anyone. Our outrage at this is not only moral. It is practical, for how long will it take the Government to recognise that handing big sums of money to people whose mandate is based on violence rather than democracy is no way to help disadvantaged communities?
“We have seen millions of pounds of taxpayers’ and European money disappear into ‘community projects’, and yet the 10% most deprived wards are almost identical to what they were 10 years ago and what they were 20 years ago. What is required is support for people of peace whose objective is to build sustainable communities based on self-help and the rule of law. It is time those courageous people were recognised.”