12th September 2017 – First Loyalist group applies to Home Secretary to be legalised.

First Loyalist group applies to Home Secretary to be legalised.


A loyalist paramilitary group has formally submitted an application to be legalised – in what could be the first of a series of requests to allow former terrorist groups to operate openly.

Members of the Red Hand Commando (RHC) travelled from Belfast to the Home Office in London last Wednesday to submit a formal application to be removed from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations which are outlawed in the UK.

The Red Hand Commando has a bloody past  but decommissioned its weapons in 2009

In a statement to the News Letter yesterday and an interview with this newspaper, members of the group echoed the words of former UVF leader Gusty Spence, “offering true and abject remorse to all the innocent victims of the conflict”.

The application has been made under Section 4 of the Terrorism Act (2000) which allows for members of a banned group to contact the government to request deproscription without themselves facing the threat of being charged with membership.

The initiative is being supported by the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), the umbrella organisation set up by Tony Blair’s former chief of staff Jonathan Powell to steer paramilitaries away from criminality, and the LCC’s chairman, David Campbell, said that Mr Powell supported the application to the Home Secretary. Mr Campbell argued that in retaining the paramilitary name, rather than disbanding, it would be harder for dissidents to seek to revive it at a future point.

In an interview yesterday in east Belfast, some members of the group indicated that if the application is rejected by Home Secretary Amber Rudd then they are likely to challenge it in the High Court via a judicial review.

Former RHC prisoner Jim Wilson said that the group was aware that it had “hurt people in the past” but said: “We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.” When asked if they could provide an assurance to victims of the group that, if legalised, they would not use that platform to glorify Troubles atrocities, Mr Wilson said that such glorification would “absolutely not” happen.

He said: “This organisation is not about glorifying murder, bombings, shootings – it happened in a conflict that we got engaged in as young lads and it’s not something that people want to run about and gloat about and to have it pushed into people’s faces.

“That’s not what deprosciption is about – it’s about allowing us to move to the next phase which is out of conflict, away from what happened in this society and all those people that were hurt by our organisation, Gusty Spence couldn’t have said it any better – it is true and abject remorse. But we were brought up in a society where there was violence and young lads from our Protestant community engaged in it and that’s it – the organisation couldn’t be any clearer; it’s sorry for the people that had to be hurt in this conflict.”

Members of the group – several of whom declined to be identified – told the News Letter yesterday that they saw the application to be proscribed as “momentous” and a chance for them to openly work to support loyalist communities in areas such as education and mental health.

They declined to give estimates of the group’s current membership but that it is predominantly based in the east of Northern Ireland. One member used the phrase “old comrades’ association’ to describe what they see the group becoming if it is legalised.

All of those present were adamant that they do not want to go into politics but would lobby “for a better society”.

One of the veteran members said that the application, to which the Home Secretary must respond within 90 days, was “a sincere and genuine effort – there’s no money involved in it”.

The RHC, one of the smaller loyalist paramilitary groups which has long been aligned with the larger UVF, was established early in the Troubles in 1972 and has been outlawed since the following year.

Many of those murdered by the group were Catholic civilians – or Protestants who it mistook for Catholics – with the last murder being one of its own members in 2003.

But the group says that it has not been involved in any terrorist or criminal activity for more than a decade.

In its statement, the group still implicitly defended its role during the Troubles and presented itself as having played a role in securing Northern Ireland’s place within the Union, saying that its members had played a role in “helping to secure the constitutional position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom”.

It said that “the transformation process isn’t an easy one” and praised named loyalists including the late Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine and Winston ‘Winkie’ Churchill Rea. Last year police charged the 65-year-old Rea with two murders – dating back to 1989 and 1990 – and membership of the RHC.

Mr Campbell said: “It’s important that people retain the ‘title deeds’ to organisations because if they folded up completely tomorrow then the next day you would have others with a malign intent taking them up again; you’ve seen it on the republican side.”

Yesterday a veteran RHC member who spoke to this newspaper derided “Facebook warriors” and their “glorification of something that might or might not have happened”.

He said: “If we were legal we could go round schools and tell them ‘don’t do what I did – people lost their homes, lost their families, lost their children, could never get a job again’; tell them the hard truth; the reality of life.”

Another individual referred to educating young people who may see paramilitarism as glamorous about “all the mental problems” associated with former paramilitaries.

One member of the group said: “The membership is unified and the organisation is able to speak with one voice.”

When asked whether the group would seek to restart recruiting if it was successful in being deproscribed it, Mr Wilson said: “No.”

He went on to say: “It is not about standing out and putting a badge on your breast – I don’t think we’d maybe even in certain circumstances use the badge or whatever because we do know, and we’re not silly people, that we have hurt people in the past.

“It’s not about that; it’s about the deproscription of the organisation because it has engaged in all things that are positive in its community…there’s things in our community that we accept it’s not productive for us to do because at the end of the day we’ve been involved in a conflict. Once we’re deproscribed it’s more about us being able to utilise the name and be able to work under that banner for positive means. If it’s offensive or it’s offending people, in certain circumstances we would not be using that.”

A member of the group said: “If we’re working to a day when there are no paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, it wouldn’t make sense to recruit paramilitaries.”

Mr Wilson said that they now recruit young people to “our Somme societies or the REACH project”, but “not recruiting in the way that recruiting used to be which is taking the oath, which hasn’t happened in this organisation in 10 years”.

When asked how they would feel about the Provisional IRA being legalised, Mr Wilson said that the IRA officially no longer exists but that it has been implicated in murders as recently as 2015.

When asked what would happen if their bid failed, Mr Wilson said: “We’ve done this only because we think it’s the right thing to do; we’ll continue to do it because it’s the right thing to do. But you must remember that there’s other people out there who are looking at this to see if it’s possible for loyalism to get their place in the sun.”

The attempt to revive Irish as a common tongue has been a costly failure in the Republic


“Two recent news stories will be of interest to anyone who is following the debate regarding the perceived need for an Irish language act in Northern Ireland.

Firstly, the cost of Irish translation in the European Parliament is almost twice the average rate for all other languages should set a few alarm bells ringing. Irish costs €43 per page rather than the average cost of €22.

Indeed, the cost of Irish translation is deemed to be the reason why the European Parliament’s budget for translators is estimated to be €3.7 million by the end of the year and has already required a bail-out.

Secondly, we have learned that the Bank of Ireland has removed the Irish language option from its ATMs because fewer than 1% of customers choose to compete transactions in Irish.

This confirms two facts. Irish – in the EU at any rate – is an expensive item.

Furthermore, the actual use of Irish in the Republic in terms of daily life and business is miniscule – less than 1%.

Almost a century ago the founders of the new Irish Free State sought to promote a Gaelic revival, including making the language compulsory in schools and for public sector jobs.

One hundred years on, with millions of pounds, punts and euro spent, and millions of teaching hours devoted to millions of children being forced to learn the language, its fair and reasonable to assess that the impact has been a failure in terms of reviving the language as a common tongue.

Furthermore, the Irish language is already respected and recognised in Northern Ireland.

It is freely taught in those schools where there is demand for it and already receives generous public funding.

According to the 2011 UK Census, in Northern Ireland 10.65% claim to have some knowledge of Irish, 6.05% claim they can speak the language to varying degrees but only 0.2% use Irish as their main home language.

With all this in mind, Gerry Adams – and the Alliance and Green parties for that matter – need to explain why Northern Ireland needs an act to promote the Irish language and why there will be no return to devolution if there is no Irish language act.

They need to explain what exactly are they trying to achieve.

With our health service and education system currently being forced to make unexpected cutbacks, is it really worth stopping the restoration of devolution for this?”

Nicholas Trimble, UUP councillor Lisburn & Castlereagh


Appeal: Dalaradia are appealing for anyone who may have some Lego to donate to a local Newtownabbey Special needs school.

LEGO is the most recognizable toy brand in the world. LEGO offers kids limitless possibilities for imaginative play, cooperation, problem-solving, and creativity.

If anyone has any whatsoever, please contact the group.

Many thanks

Thank you

With our upcoming Tanzania Project we have been fortunate to have a number of sponsors and core funding.


However, we are actively fund-raising and seeking sponsorship for operational costs thus releasing more funds for the children.

We want to take this time to thank various people for their kind donations.

  • Dr Ian Adamson – http://www.ianadamson.net/
  • Gary Williamson – http://www.garysmenswear.co.uk/
  • Reach UK – http://www.reachproject.co.uk/
  • Pretani Associates – http://www.pretani.co.uk/
  • Stephen Long from The Hubb
  • Pretani Press – http://www.ianadamson.net/pretani-press/
  • North Down Capacity Initiative – https://www.facebook.com/Down-Capacity-Building-Initiative-Bangor-
  • Northern-Ireland-1832935186977960/
  • Wm Strain Wm Lightbody Memorial Flute Band – https://www.facebook.com/wmstrainwmlightbodymemorial/
  • Ballygowan True Blues – https://www.facebook.com/groups/425104557573499/
  • Mark Williamson – Rathcoole Peoples Group
  • Steeple Defenders – https://www.facebook.com/steeple.defenders/
  • Wendy Kerr – http://www.southantrimrcommunitynetwork.org/
  • Disraeli Street Liverpool Supporters Club
  • Martin Snodden – Northern Spring
  • Anonymous Diner, Newtownabbey
  • Shine Window Cleaning, Shankill – https://www.facebook.com/martin.spence.756
  • Crown Defenders Online Forum http://www.crowndefenders.com/forum
  • Jackie Welsh

Tanzania Project

A group from Loyalist communities (Among them members of Dalaradia) have been selected to participate in a pilot scheme to undertake charitable work with a local orphanage in Tanzania. For more details click the following link – http://www.dalaradia.co.uk/?page_id=715

First Aid Courses

Dalaradia in conjunction with REACH are now providing First Aid Courses to members of the community. The course is provided by SR training,  is over two days and fully accredited. Below is a group who recently completed the course.


First aid and CPR training has practical benefits.

Its saves lives! Although this is the most obvious reason it is also the most important. First Aid training gives you a better understanding and confidence to be able to act in the occurrence of an accident. Time and time again CPR has saved lives due to immediate action being taken. CPR knowledge can be vital in the event of a critical or life threatening incident.

Please contact Dalaradia or REACH for information on future courses.

Dalaradia Foodbank

Dalaradia in conjunction with REACH, Fare Share and Tesco Newtownabbey are now providing a food bank to distribute food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough to avoid hunger.

We will be distributing good food destined for waste which has been transformed into nutritious meals for vulnerable people. The food we redistribute is fresh, quality and in date surplus from Tescos.

The food is open to anyone and can be collected from the HUBB Community Resource Centre, 30 St Aubyn Street, Belfast BT15 3QF (off the Shore Road) every Friday commencing tomorrow 23/6/2017. Please be advised the amount of food available will change from week to week and we cannot guarantee food will be available when you arrive. We would recommend checking before hand if possible on 028 90 777511

Pretani Associates Press Release 19/6/17




Date: 19/6/17

Attn: Journalists

Use: Immediate

More Info: Helen Brooker 07817 587860

Dr Ian Adamson OBE 07803 186293

Offering Hope In Tumultuous Times…

Ironically, it’s easy enough to think of things which are equally beloved by the whole community in Northern Ireland: Comber spuds dripping with butter, Tayto Cheese ‘n’ Onion crisps and the creamy pint of Guinness, to name but a few…

So why is it that people in Northern Ireland simply can’t stomach each other?

This is the question that has focused the minds of common identity strategists Helen Brooker and Dr Ian Adamson OBE for the last four years.

Under the banner of Pretani Associates – the Pretani were the first people of the British Isles – Mrs Brooker and Dr Adamson were invited to the Sorbonne in Paris early in April, 2017, to launch their strategy in the European intellectual heartland of the humanities.

Brooker and Adamson’s project seeks to use the early history of these islands as an antidote to the poisonous legacy of Northern Ireland’s recent, ‘troubled’ past…

The Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle faculty, was, not unlike the Northern Ireland Troubles, born out of major civil unrest in 1968, so the choice of venue was, in fact, appropriate – while the original university can trace its roots back to the 12th century.

Pretani Associates were hosted by Senior Professor Wesley Hutchinson, a native of these parts, who now finds himself Professor of Irish Studies at France’s most renowned seat of learning.

In the hallowed surroundings of the Grand Amphitheatre, Institut du Monde Anglophone, a rapt audience made up of professors, undergraduates and masters students heard how Northern Ireland is still riven by sectarianism, decades after the end of the conflict which left over 3600 people dead.

Cultural confusion has denied the population of Northern Ireland any sort of deep peace dividend, Pretani Associates contend, and old animosities are kept on the boil by a never-ending cycle of enquiries into atrocities and the machinations of the two main political parties, Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party.

Common Identity on the other hand, highlights the commonalities between the two tribes of Northern Ireland, and from a standpoint of mutual respect and conscience, would seek to remove the ‘branding’ which creates division, and thereby stimulate cultural, economic and political stability – the cornerstones – along with prosperity, of any successful society.

The Pretani Associates pairing of former nurse and founding Chair of East Belfast landmark Belmont Tower, Helen Brooker, and retired paediatrician and politician Dr Ian Adamson, were supported on their mission by hefty, no nonsense, leading Loyalist the Dalaradia Chairperson, whose Dalaradia Historical Group are converts to the Common Identity cause, enabling them to explore a broader perspective to their particular history.

Commenting on the new initiative, strategy co-author Helen Brooker said, “Common Identity is something we all share. The cultural instability which is holding Northern Ireland back socially, educationally, financially and developmentally is caused by people’s perceptions about their culture and other people’s cultures. What Common Identity does is remove the old triggers which constantly cause friction and conflict here, and offers the hope of a stable, normal society.”

Dr Ian Adamson OBE added, “The Pretani were the first people of the British Isles, and that’s where our organisation takes its name and inspiration from. Everyone in this country, regardless of religion or politics, shares a common identity stretching back to ancient times. If we concentrate on what we have in common, and set aside recent differences, we can find lasting peace and harmony.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about Common Identity can visit the Pretani Associates Facebook page or their website at Pretani.co.uk.




Pic Caption: Pictured in April in Paris are (l-r) Helen Brooker of Pretani Associates Ltd, Professor Wesley Hutchinson, Professor of Irish studies at the Sorbonne and Dr Ian Adamson OBE, of Pretani Associates Ltd.

Loyalist Communities Council Statement 5/6/17


Embargoed to 0700, 5 June 2017
The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) urges every unionist and loyalist voter to ensure they turn out and vote for unionist candidates in the forthcoming general election. Sinn Fein, and the other anti-unionist parties are seeking to capitalise on the uncertainty created by the collapse of the Stormont Executive, and the impending Brexit negotiations to move Northern Ireland away from the United Kingdom. This will only succeed if unionists fail to register their votes for unionist candidates.

The LCC deplores the unwillingness of the main unionist parties to co-operate to maximise unionist representation at Westminster. In constituencies where there is a risk of losing a seat to republicans, we ask that unionists vote for the unionist candidate most likely to win that seat. In particular we offer the following guidance:

In Fermanagh South Tyrone we ask that every unionist votes for Tom Elliott

In North Belfast we ask that every unionist votes for Nigel Dodds

In East Belfast we ask that every unionist votes for Gavin Robinson

In South Belfast we ask that every unionist votes for Emma Pengelly

If there is a maximum turnout of the unionist electorate not only will three unionist seats be protected but a fourth (South Belfast) will be won back for Unionism.

The LCC particularly warns all unionists and loyalists against voting for Alliance Party candidates. Many unionists think they can retain their unionism yet vote for Alliance candidates. They are sorely mistaken in that belief. No party does more to undermine the Britishness of Northern Ireland, and foment community mistrust and division than the Alliance Party. Any unionist who votes for the Alliance Party is driving a nail into the coffin of the Union. This Party must be rejected at the polls by all unionists and loyalists.

The LCC will be continuing its efforts after the general election to encourage greater co-operation amongst unionists to ensure that unionist representation in Councils and in any future Assembly is maximised.
For clarification or comment:


Human Rights Commission 1/6/17