Bookmark and Share
18/11/2016

First Minister Refuses To Support Calls For UDA Leader To Step Down

First Minister Arlene Foster has refused to support calls for UDA leader Dee Stitt to step down as chief executive of Charter NI.

On Wednesday, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness called for Mr Stitt to reconsider his position in light of the reputational damage being done to worthwhile Social Investment projects.

Mrs Foster said she regretted that Mr Stitt had now become a "distraction".

She said: "This man is an employee of Charter NI and they have to deal with him as they see fit, it would be wrong for me to intervene in all of the different organisations that exist across Northern Ireland."

Charter NI was presented with a cheque for £1.7million from the Executive's Social Investment Fund (SIF).

In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Stitt said the government didn't care about Northern Ireland, however he has since apologised to the board of Charter NI. He was issued with a final written warning.
News Image
SDLP North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon said: "The review by the board of Charter NI into the conduct of its own CEO Dee Stitt was conducted without transparency and behind closed doors. When elected representatives try to ask legitimate questions, the door is slammed in our face. 

"This is a shameless exercise in back covering. The board of Charter NI is covering the back of its CEO Dee Stitt. The DUP continues to cover the back of self-confessed UDA boss Dee Stitt and Sinn Féin continue to cover the back of the DUP. Why?

"We are again calling on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to suspend funding to Charter NI until there is an independent review of the conduct of its CEO and all governance arrangements. Who has anything to fear from an independent review?"

Alliance Executive spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA said: "A self-confessed paramilitary commander not only being in charge of a community organisation but one which has recently received nearly £2 million from the public purse to fund its activities is not merely "distracting" but rather deeply concerning.

"It is disappointing the First Minister does not share this view. It poses a number of questions not only about her stance but the entire Executive's anti-paramilitary action plan, which continues to suffer major credibility issues."

(CD/JP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 July 2014
£2m Chemical Treatment Facility Opens In Antrim
A new £2m chemical treatment facility has opened in Antrim that is expected to create 16 jobs over the next three years. Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan officially opened McQuillan Envirocare’s new chemical treatment facility today.
30 June 2017
Call For PM And Taoiseach To Be Involved In Stormont Talks
Sinn Féin is urging the Prime Minister Theresa May and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to become involved in the Stormont talks. Discussions to restore power sharing in NI are continuing today, 30 June, after parties failed to meet the deadline.
21 June 2017
Talks Between DUP And Conservatives To Continue
Talks between the DUP and Conservatives to support a minority government are to continue. Discussions with Prime Minister Theresa May began after the Tories failed to win an outright majority in the general election. However, on Tuesday the DUP said the Government needed to focus on the discussions.
14 June 2017
DUP To Continue Talks With Conservatives
DUP leader Arlene Foster is to continue discussions with the Conservatives in London today, 14 June. Mrs Foster said she hoped an agreement would be reached today. Speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, 13 June, Mrs Foster said Brexit, counter-terrorism, taxation and the economy have been discussed.
22 March 2017
Book of Condolence In Memory Of Martin McGuinness Opens At Guildhall
A Book of Condolence has opened at the Guildhall in L'Derry in memory of former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness. Mr McGuinness died following a short illness on Tuesday, 21 March.
30 September 2016
NI Housing Associations To Be Reclassified As Public Bodies
Housing Associations in Northern Ireland are to be reclassified as public bodies. The decision was made by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA said: "Housing Associations make an invaluable contribution to the social housing sector in Northern Ireland and it is vital that they continue to do so.
09 January 2017
Law To Protect Mothers Who Breastfeed To Be Introduced
New legislation to protect mothers who breastfeed their children in public is to be introduced in Northern Ireland. Health Minister Michelle O'Neill will bring forward the legislation.
26 October 2016
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister To Travel To Newry To Discuss Brexit
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan is to travel to Newry today to attend a series of meetings to discuss the implications of Brexit. The meetings, with business leaders and communities in Northern Ireland, will involve discussing the Government's approach to the challenges ahead.
23 August 2016
Nama Scandal: NI's Finance Minister Asked To Step Aside
NI's Finance Minister has been asked to step aside during a Nama investigation into coaching. Stormont's Finance Committee has asked Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir to step aside temporarily following allegations that Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay "coached" loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson before he gave evidence at a Nama inquiry.
11 August 2016
OFMDFM 'United In Determination' Over Brexit Negotiations
The Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) has said it is "united in determination to achieve the best possible outcome for all our people" during Brexit negotiations.
25 July 2016
PM Meets With Foster And McGuinness During Visit to NI
Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May has met with the First Minister and deputy First Minister during her visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs May said her meeting with Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness was in relation to the impact of the Brexit vote.
15 July 2016
Call For New NI Secretary Of State To Start Work Immediately
The new Northern Ireland Secretary of State has been called to start work immediately and to recognise that the majority of people living in NI voted to remain in the European Union (EU). Alliance Leader David Ford made the call after the new UK Prime Minister Theresa May selected James Brokenshire for the role.
07 July 2016
NI Water 'To Cease Meter Installation'
The installation of water meters in domestic properties is to stop. Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has said NI Water is to cease further installation of the meters into homes while legislation is brought to the Assembly.
20 January 2016
Enterprise Minister Announces Over 50 New Jobs
Over 50 new jobs are to be created following a £3 million investment announced by Enterprise Trade & Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell.
13 December 2016
'No Concerns' Over Charter NI Work After UDA Claims
The PSNI has assured Ministers there are "no concerns" regarding the work of Charter NI after a senior police officer linked some members to paramilitary activity.