Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry, has again called for the Executive to suspend all funding from Charter NI and to allow GEMs to deliver the Social Investment Fund Employability Project in East Belfast, after the Chief Constable met with Executive Ministers and confirmed that an individual or individuals associated with Charter are currently associated with paramilitary activity.
He further stressed that the continued failure to act undermines the credibility of the so-called Executive Action Plan on Paramilitarism. Stephen Farry said: “It is clear that the Chief Constable has confirmed that an individual or individuals associated with Charter are currently associated with paramilitary activity. In any normal society based on the rule of law and democracy, the continued deployment of public funds through an organisation with individuals associated with criminality would simply not be tolerated. It would be a scandal. Yet, our Executive continues to sit on their hands and refuse to act by suspending funding.
“This inaction rips the heart out of the existing, and indeed weak, Action Plan on Tackling Paramilitarism. What is the point in expensive advertisements to undermine organised crime, if the Executive cannot give leadership by standing up for a culture of lawfulness.
“The excuse that the work of Charter NI has to be protected does not stand up to scrutiny. There are many other good organisations in the community sector that did not have the opportunity to access the Social Investment Fund, and if the Executive Office did suspend all payments to Charter, arrangements could be put in place whereby GEMS, the more experienced and larger sub-contractor, could directly deliver the SIF Employability Project in East Belfast”