One of the UK’s largest providers of public services is seeking a rescue deal as it struggles with £500m of debt, according to the Financial Times.
Interserve, which works in prisons, schools, hospitals and on the roads, said it might look for new investment or sell off part of the business.
Workers at the Foreign Office and the NHS are among Interserve’s tens of thousands of UK employees.
The government said it supported the company’s long-term recovery plan.
The Financial Times reported that the company was looking for a deal to refinance its debt which would mean lenders taking a significant loss while public shareholders would be “virtually wiped out”.
Its share price dropped to a 30-year low last month.
Despite lucrative contracts in the Middle East and its wide range of work in the UK, the company has continued to lose money since March, when it agreed an earlier rescue deal.
Its troubles have been blamed on cancellations and delays in its construction contracts as well as struggling waste-to-energy projects in Derby and Glasgow.
What does Interserve do?
From its origins in dredging and construction, the company has diversified into wide range of services, such as health care and catering, for clients in government and industry.
At King George Hospital in east London, for instance, Interserve has a £35 million contract for for cleaning, security, meals, waste management and maintenance.
Its infrastructure projects include improving the M5 Junction 6 near Bristol, refurbishing the Rotherham Interchange bus station in Yorkshire, and upgrading sewers and water pipes for Northumbrian Water.
But Interserve is also the largest provider of probation services in England and Wales, supervising about 40,000 “medium-low risk offenders” for the Ministry of Justice.
In a statement, Interserve said: “The fundamentals of the business are strong and the board is focused on ensuring Interserve has the right financial structure to support its future success.”
The company said its options included bringing “new capital into the business and progressing the disposal of non-core businesses “.
Interserve’s difficulties follow the collapse of Carillion in January 2018, which put thousands of jobs at risk and cost taxpayers £148m.
Interserve shares dive on fears for future
Government reassures over Interserve
Following that, the government launched a pilot of “living wills” for contractors, so that critical services can be taken over in the event of a crisis. Interserve is one of five suppliers taking part.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We monitor the financial health of all of our strategic suppliers, including Interserve, and have regular discussions with the company’s management. The company successfully raised new debt facilities earlier this year, and we fully support them in their long term recovery plan.”
With many thanks to: BBC England for the original story.
Key figures from worlds of Business, sport and arts sign letter to taoiseach on Brexit
A letter to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
A Thaosigh, a chara,
In December 2017 you made a commitment to Irish citizens in the north:
“To the nationalist people in Northern Ireland, I want to assure you that we have protected your interests throughout these negotiations. Your birth right as Irish citizens, and therefore as EU citizens, will be protected. There will be no hard border on our island. You will never be again left behind by an Irish Government. These rights will, of course, be available to everyone in Northern Ireland who chooses to exercise his or her right to be an Irish citizen, regardless of their political persuasion or religious beliefs.” Leo Varadkar 8th December 2o17.
Your commitment and assurances assurances are welcomed by all who cherish their Irish citizenship and identity in the north.
However, almost a year latter, the denial of our rights continues.
The political institutions remain in suspension as political unionism continues to deney respect for our Irish identity and and language, marriage equality, access to justice for legacy matters. As you know, these rights are now taken for granted by citizens in other parts of these islands.
The British Conservative government has rendered itself unable to effect any progress on these rights issues due to its dependence on the DUP. Brexit threatens to deppen the rights crisis and there is a real danger of serious erosion of current guarantees.
Access to free healthcare in EU countries will be denied, including if an Irish citizen from the north requires medical treatment while on holiday or visiting friends and family in the south.
The cost of studying at any university in the south will increase substantially rendering this option closed to many young Irish citizens in the north.
Irish citizens in the north will no longer be represented in the European Parliament.
After Brexit occurs, there are presently no guarantees as to the mutual recognition of qualifications. This may affect an electrician wanting to work in Dublin. Or a nurse from Dublin wanting to work in Belfast.
There is a very real potential that potential that partition could be reinforced, and our country and our people further devided. This is a source of grave concern to all of us.
We, as Irish citizens, urge you to adhere to your commitment that we would “never again be left behind by an Irish Government” and to redouble your efforts, and the efforts of government, to ensure that our rights are protected.
Chuir siad siúd sa sa tuaisceart ar mór acu a saoránacht agus a bhféiniúlacht Éireannach, chuir siad sin fáilte roimh na gealltanais a thug tú.
Bliain ina dhiaidh sin, áfach, leanann leis an diúltú cert.
Tá na hinstitiúidí polaitiúla ar fionraí fós mar a dhiúlataíonn polaiteoirí aontachtacha meas a thabhairt ar Ghaeilge agus ar ár bhféiniúlacht Éireannach: ar an chomhionannas posts; agus ar chearta maidir leis an chóras dla, is cearta iad seo nach iontach le sioránaigh in áiteanna eile sna hoileáin seo.
De dheasca go bhfuil siad ag brath ar an DUP, nil an Rialtas Coimeádach sa Bhreatain ábalta aon dul chun a thabhairt i bhfeidhm i dtaobh na gceisteanna ceart seo.
De bharr Brexit, tá an bhagairt ann go rachaidh an ghéarchéim ceart in olcas agus go gcreimfear dearbhuithe reatha.
Diúltófar cúram sláinte saor in aisce do shaoránaigh i dtíortha san Aontas Eorpach; cuimsíonn sé sin an saoránach Éireannach ó thuaidh dá mbeadh cóir leighis ag teastáil air/uirthi agus é/í ar saoire nó ar cuairt ag daoine muinteartha sa deisceart.
Méadóidh an costas a bhaineann me duine ag freastal ar ollscoil sa deisceart: rud a scriosfaidh sin mar rogha do chuid mhór saorábach óg sa tuaisceart.
Ní dhéanfar ionadaíocht, níos mó, sa Parliament Eurpach ar son saoránaigh Éireannacha sa tuaisceart.
Ó thaobh cáilíochtai de, níl aon ghealltanas ann faoi láthair maidir le haitheantas frithpháirteach indiaidh Brexit. Is féidir go gcuirfidh sé sin isteach ar an leictreoir ar mhaith leis/lei bheith ag i mBaile Átha Cliath: nó ar an altra atá ag iarraidh post imBeal Feirste.
Tá fíorchontúirt ann go neartófar an chríochdheighjlt, agus go scarfar ár dtír agus ár muintir níos arís. Is cúis mhór imní í sin ar fad.
Mar shaoránaigh Éireannacha, iarraimid ort cloí leis an choimitmint a thug tú Bach bhfágfaidh rialtas d’Eirnn ina dhiaidh muid “choiche Arís”. Iarraimid ORT do chuid iarrachtaí do rialtais a ghéarú lena a chinntiú go ndéanfar ár gcearta a chosaint.
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story
The UN are sending Special Rapporteur Prof. Philip Alston to the UK in November to report back on the state of extreme poverty and human rights in this country.
He is asking for public submissions. If you or anyone you know have a story to tell about your experience with issues due to austerity, welfare reforms, etc. check out the article below to see how your voice can be heard.
What won’t please the government, is that he has asked for public submissions to aid him in his investigation. This will make it hard for the Tories to spin as teething issues.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations (UN) system and consists of 47 Member States.
This committee is responsible for cooperation for the promotion and protection of Human Rights.
The UN states its goals include providing “greater prominence to the plight of those living in extreme poverty and to highlight the human rights consequences of the systematic neglect to which they are all too often subjected.”
It is also makes recommendations to the General Assembly for further development of international law in the field of human rights.
The Special Rapporteur
The UN are sending renowned Professor Philip Alston to the UK in November. He has been tasked in to looking into “extreme poverty and human rights” issues that may have arisen due to austerity and welfare reform. He will also investigate how Brexit may further affect poverty levels within the UK.
Philip Alston is an international law scholar and human rights expert. He is a Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and co-Chair of the law school’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.
Alston does not directly work for the UN and any argument that he may be biased can immediately be dispelled.
In October 2016, Alston released a scathing report to the UN General Assembly calling the UN’s refusal to accept responsibility for the devastating 2010 Haiti cholera outbreak a “disgrace.”
He went on to say; “The UN’s explicit and unqualified denial of anything other than a moral responsibility is a disgrace. If the United Nations bluntly refuses to hold itself accountable for human rights violations, it makes a mockery of its efforts to hold governments and others to account.”
In my opinion, this shows that Professor Alston really cares about Human Rights and holding those who breach them to account.
The UK November Visit
I am especially (but not exclusively) interested in the following issues for my visit to the UK: austerity; welfare reform, including Universal Credit; the use of new technologies by the govt in the social security system; child poverty; and Brexit. https://t.co/o0Q9ewI2L8https://t.co/Sazwx31byu
— Philip Alston (@Alston_UNSR) July 26, 2018
Professor Alston will visiting Great Britain and Northern Ireland between the 5th and 16th of November 2018.
His primary focus is to look into the effects that Tory policies have had on poverty levels and human rights in the UK. Argueable the two biggest issues he will look into are austerity and welfare reform.
The government are always giving themselves a pat on the back for their policy decisions. In relation to welfare reform they are currently pushing the misleading statistic that employment is at an all time high.
What they fail to mention is that anyone doing at least one hour or those on zero hour contracts are included in these figures. Therefore we should really take them with the pinch of salt they deserve.
In 2010, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced heavy austerity measures including tax rises and massive spending cuts. He vowed to eliminate the deficit in five years. This did not materialise.
Worse still the UK’s national debt has actually risen. In 2010 the UK’s national debt stood at £1 trillion. By 2017, despite all the cuts to public services and the welfare budget, it had risen to £1.76 trillion. The Institute for Fiscal Studies forecasts it will reach £2 trillion by 2022.
It is clear that austerity has not worked. A nearly 40% cut to the welfare budget will clearly have had an affect on poverty levels. If they have less money to spend the government will cut corners to save money. As we know, Universal Credit is not performing well.
The Tory’s flagship welfare reforms such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment have caused unprecedented chaos and hardship. There so much evidence I wasn’t sure were to start.
The National Audit Office (NAO) stated that despite claims by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that Universal Credit would save the taxpayer money, this may never be achieved.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JrF) published a highly critical report in May showing that over 1.5 million people in the UK were destitute in 2017.
The Trussell Trust and Oxford University did a “deepdive study” in areas where Universal Credit was in operation for over twelve-months. They found that foodbank use in these areas rose by 52% compared to the national average of 13%. The DWP as usual claimed that there was no correlation and blamed a “small sample size” for the findings.
When it comes to Personal Independence Payment Professor Alston will already be aware that the High Court found the DWP discriminated against those with disabilities and illness. The Department for Work and Pension (DWP) also lost an earlier case which showed they had discriminated against those with mental health condition. He will see the hardship and utter devastation that the Tories have wreaked on some of the UK’s most vulnerable people.
Dominic Rabb Commons Boris Johnson Burkha Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has already caused outrage over his islamophobic comments
Alston also wants to investigate how Brexit may affect poverty and human rights within the UK after we leave the European Union.
In relation to Human Rights many are certain that these will come under threat from the Tories. Dominic Raab, the new Brexit Secretary has long advocated for the abolition of the Human Rights Act (HRA) and when he was justice minister he attempted to draw up a “Bill of Rights” to replace it.
Boris Johnson who is currently favourite to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister has already caused outrage with his offensive comments about the Niqab and when you consider he’s meeting with far-right people like Steve Bannon, what else will he come up with?
What’s more the government already breaches human rights WITH EU oversight, so what will it be like if and when we leave the EU?
What is certain is one thing. The Tories have lost their one go to excuse; “but Labour.” There is so much evidence from world renowned institutions and individuals that they have no place to hide.
With the general public submitting their own evidence to the UN, this will enable those inspecting the UK to see raw, unfiltered accounts and experiences of those living in poverty and destitution.
I will await Professor Alstons report in anticipation as there is no way that the government will be able to argue away anything this time.
Mr Alston is looking for submissions from individuals and organisations. You don’t need to be known as everyone’s story is just as important as others.
firstname.lastname@example.org is the email should you wish to submit your own pieces to the UN.
They want no more than 2500 words not including annexes such as reports etc.
He is specifically looking for how austerity measures, welfare reforms a d government automation has affected poverty and human rights in the UK.
He also welcomes pieces on how Brexiteer may affect the above.
The closing date is 14th September
With many thanks to: The Daily Politik and Life of a Universal Credit Sufferer for the original posting.
‘They’re reduced to celebrating an agreement to roll over a fraction of the existing trade deals that we already benefit from as EU members’
Theresa May meets South African president Cyril Ramaphosa at De Tuynhuys presidential palace in Cape Town
Theresa May has come under fire for claiming to have secured the UK’s first post-Brexit trade deal as it is merely a “rollover” of an existing EU agreement.
Critics said the announcement – to replicate a deal with six southern African nations – fell far short of boasts, before the referendum, of a new free trade area much larger than the EU.
They also pointed out that it came amid doubts about whether the UK will be able to retain deals the EU has struck recently with Canada and Japan – which are far bigger economies.
Last year, Britain exported £2.4bn worth of goods to the six African countries included in Ms May’s deal – just 0.7 per cent of the value of its exports to the EU and the rest of the world combined, which were worth £339bn.
The government has acknowledged the risk of a “loss of trade” after Brexit with such countries, admitting they could demand more favourable terms to agree a rollover with the UK.
Speaking in Cape Town, the prime minister announced an additional £4bn of UK investment in African economies, with the hope of further match investment from the private sector to come.
And she said: “That’s why I’m delighted that we will today confirm plans to carry over the European Union’s Economic Partnership Agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and Mozambique once the EU’s deal no longer applies to the UK.
“As a prime minister who believes both in free markets and in nations and businesses acting in line with well-established rules and principles of conduct, I want to demonstrate to young Africans that their brightest future lies in a free and thriving private sector.”
Countries in the Sacu agreement include Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, with Mozambique also included in the pact with the EU that the UK will take on.
Of those countries, South Africa was Britain’s largest trade partner in 2017, buying £2.4bn worth of exports, followed by Namibia (£39m), Botswana (£24m) and Mozambique (£11m). Lesotho and Swaziland purchased less than a million pounds worth of exported goods from Britain each.
With many thanks to the: Guardian for the original story.
LORD Adonis says the DUP want the hardest Brexit because all they want is a hard border for cultural and political reasons, note not economic.
The DUP’s sole contribution to the Brexit negotiations has been to use every opportunity to block the only chance of avoiding a border by resisting any and every attempt to devise a backstop
The great advantage for them is that they can blame the British for the outcome. Lies, all lies, say the DUP while hurling personal abuse at Adonis. Of course he’s right. When did the DUP stop wanting a border as hard as possible? After all, at one stage Peter Robinson wanted a fence, extolling the Israeli model he visited at the illegally occupied Golan Heights. The evidence supports Adonis.
The DUP’s sole contribution to the Brexit negotiations has been to use every opportunity to block the only chance of avoiding a border by resisting any and every opportunity to block the only chance of avoiding a border by resisting any and every attempt to devise a backstop.
It was the DUP which raised the hare that the north staying in the customs union and single market had ‘constitutional implications’. Not a bit of it. Britain gave Hong Kong back to China in 1997. Beijing is sovereign and decides who runs Hong Kong but Hong Kong still has a separate customs and tax arrangements. There are several examples of countries which have more than one tariff and tax system. Besides, all agricultural produce coming into the north is already checked at the ports.
During the Second World War patriotic, jingoistic unionists had no objection to the north not having conscription like, all together now, ‘the rest of the UK’, No one remembers any unionist begging, – ‘Conscript us too.’ Furthermore you had to have an ID card to travel to Britain during the war and some years afterwards. Any constitutional implications there?
However, do you smell any hypocrisy? Despite the DUP and their friends amoung the more repellent Brexiteers successfully holding up progress on the backstop which without question would be economically and socially benicial to everyone in the north, the pathetic Theresa May still indulges them. Truly, as George Osborne said last year, she is a dead woman walking. Her moderate, sensible MP’s watch with astonishment as she staggers on absorbing the blows and ridicule of ideologues in her party and their DUP spear carriers. That’s what she was doing her last week.
She knew she would achieve nothing except please the DUP and reckoned the humiliation was worth it. Can you imagine a two-and-a-half-hour dinner with that lot? That’s one occasion when you wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall. You’d have dropped off with boredom. Famously when she was home secretary May was known to journalists covering parliament as ‘the worst lunch in Westminster’. Awkward silences, robotic answers, empty soliloquies, blank recorder. Now add to that the wit of the scintillating Foster and dour Dodds. What a sparkler that dinner must have been.
Only Arelene Foster, perhaps not for the first time, didn’t seem to understand what she was doing inviting May to Fermanagh. Who did she think she was representing? Not the 58.6 per cent of Fermanagh/South Tyrone voters who voted Remain in a 68 per cent turnout. In fact what the DUP were doing last week was a microcosm of what they have been doing since June 2016 and that is misrepresting the peoe of the north.
By doing their damnedest to prevent a backstop and thereby ensure a hard border the DUP are damaging the futures of everyone in the north. At no point have they presented any plans to replace the EU subsidies which pay 87 per cent of farm income here or the Peace IV funding which supplies millions of pounds to the north. What has the DUP proposed should be done after 2020? Nothing.
What have they asked the British government to do? When you look, you find the DUP has no independent positions on any Brexit issue but one. Thy pathetically parrot the latest line Theresa May squawks, including about the Chequers white paper which Depooty Dodds supported before his friends left in tatters on the floor of the Commons. No doubt Depooty Dodds is waiting for Theresa May’s next pronouncement on Chequers so that he knows what line to take. The only specific action the DUP has taken is to ensure a hard border.
With many thanks to: Brian Feeney and The Irish News for the original story.
Boris Johnson has defended a £160,000 donation made to the Conservatives by a former Russian minister’s wife in return for a tennis match with him.
Confirming the 2014 match, which was also set to include David Cameron, took place, he warned against creating a “miasma of suspicion” against Russians.
“To the best of my knowledge, all possible checks have been made and… will continue to be made” on donations.
Lubov Chernukhin had bid at a fundraising auction at a Tory event.
Mr Johnson was mayor of London in 2014. The match was reported at the time – Mrs Chernukhin is a longstanding Conservative Party donor whose husband served under Vladimir Putin.
Russia hints UK lab was nerve agent source
Russian spy: What we know
The tennis match against Mr Johnson and the then prime minister Mr Cameron was among items auctioned off at the Conservative Party summer ball in the summer of 2014.
Law firm Carter Ruck confirmed at the time that the successful bidder was Mrs Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir was deputy finance minister under Mr Putin between 2000 and 2002.
Asked about it on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Johnson said: “If there is evidence of gross corruption in the way that gentleman in question obtained his wealth… then it’s possible for our law enforcement agencies to deprive him of his wealth with an unexplained wealth order – that is a matter for the authorities, it’s not a matter for me.”
He stressed that “we have no quarrel with the Russian people” and warned against suspecting “the entire nation” where no evidence was produced against individuals.
Asked if the tennis match had taken place, he replied: “It did.”
But he added: “It’s very important that we do not allow a miasma of suspicion about all Russians in London – and indeed all rich Russians in London – to be created.”
And he said it was “quite extraordinary” while those who had been attacked were critically ill, for the “fire to be somehow turned on Conservative Party funding”.
“To the best of my knowledge, all possible checks have been made and they will continue to be made.”
By Jonathan Blake, BBC political correspondent
It was undoubtedly an awkward moment.
The foreign secretary had to admit that he played tennis with the wife of a former Russian government minister, in return for a hefty donation to the Conservative Party.
Albeit four years ago, and albeit in accordance with the Electoral Commission rules.
Now though, it allows Labour and other critics to question the credibility of a Conservative government taking such a tough line against Russia.
But there has been no great clamour to criticise, beyond raised eyebrows and pointed fingers.
Perhaps Mr Johnson’s opponents think it is better to let the facts speak for themselves, than be accused of political point scoring at a very sensitive time.
All parties need money after all, and all need to be careful where it comes from.
Retired military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, and Yulia, 33, remain critically ill in hospital after being found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre on 4 March.
The Russian government has denied any involvement, but the UK and its allies say there is “no plausible alternative explanation” to Russia being behind it.
This week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the fact there had been “over £800,000 worth of donations to the Conservative Party from Russian oligarchs and their associates”.
He claimed the government was resisting Labour’s amendments to the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill, currently progressing through the House of Lords.
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has called for the introduction of an “oligarch levy” as part of efforts to strengthen financial sanctions on Russia.
It would introduce a charge on purchases of residential property by offshore trusts in tax havens and, the party says, could raise £875m a year.
Mr Johnson said the government was already “pursuing a number of measures” but would be “intensifying” sanctions on individuals who had obtained “wealth by corruption” and were linked to the Kremlin.
With many thanks to: BBC England for the origional story.
Two Terrorist Supporters elected as MPs Emma ‘Little’ Pengelly (MP) and Gavin Robinson (MP).
And now talk of Sinn Féin talking of taking their seats in Westminster to defeat the Tory party and try and stop Brexit.
Arlene Foster now holds the playing cards but there is still two very difficult questions for her answer. “How can she work both deals”
(1) In the negotiations Here in the North of Ireland. Where there is no government?
(2) In the negotiations in England where the Tories are “up shit creak without a paddle.”?
She even went on to speak in Irish using the words “Sin É” pronounced in English as (Shin A) meaning “That’s it”.
This could not only force another re-election in the North of Ireland, but also another re-election in England, Scoland & Wales.
It would be a complete disaster for the Conservite’s and the DUP, here in the North of Ireland (Northern Ireland). The English people as a nation need to watch their backs. Don’t trust a Tory and don’t trust ‘The DUP’!
In 2015, The DUP built it’s election campaign around the idea that that it’s MPs might be Kingmakers at Westminster. Their posters bore the a the slogan “More Votes. More Seats. More Influence. More for Northern Ireland”. When David Cameron won his majority, that strategy was quietly forgotten.
“While I was writing this it was confirmed that the DUP has reached a deal with the Tory party. A DUP Sourcesaid:“We want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The Alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, We will ensure there’s a ToryP.M.”was written in the: The guardian, Newspaper.
The Tories are now in very serious trouble the backbenchers are unhappy WIth the ‘New collation between the tory’s and the DUP.
But come on be honest, by you looking at a picture like that (picture below). Would you trust Boris Johnson? Honestly? because I wouldn’t.
All 18 of the North of Ireland’s MPs have been confirmed with the SDLP and UUP losing their seats at Westminster.
The final result came in Fermanagh and South Tyrone where the UUP’s Tom Elliottlost to Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew M.P.
Former SDLP Party Leaders Mark Durkan, Margaret Richie and Alasdair McDonnell were toppled in Foyle, South Down and Belfast South.
In Foyle, Sinn Féin’s Elisha Mc Callion won by 169 votes after a recount.
But that’s the position the 10 newly returned MPs are in, despite Arlene Foster predicting it did “not look likely” at the campaign outset. And latter saying “It would be difficult to do a deal”.
The DUP party has been criticised in the past for sharing platforms with representatives of loyalist paramilitaries.
In 1996, former MP Rev William McCrea stood ata Portadown rally alongside LVF leader Billy Wright (pictured below).
The ruthless paramilitary group, which split from the UVF in 1996, was responsible for high-profile murders including the killing of Catholic taxi driver Michael McGoldrick.
In the mid-1980s the DUP also had close links with Ulster Resistance, set up in response to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The group was launched in 1986 at a rally in the Ulster Hall in Belfast addressed by then DUP leader Ian Paisley.
Peter Robinson, who at the time was his party’s deputy leader, was later photographed at another Ulster Resistance rally wearing a beret.
The party cut ties with the group in 1987 when members were linked to arms finds.
The father of the DUP’s Emma Little Pengelly, who has just won the South Belfast seat, is Noel Little, a Co Armagh loyalist and founder of Ulster Resistance.
Little was one of three men arrested in Paris in 1989 in connection with a plot to exchange a missile stolen from Shorts for South African guns.
After spending two years on remand the trio received suspended sentences and fines.
The weapons they sought to procure were destined for the UVF, UDA and Ulster Resistance.
In 2014 the DUP and other unionist parties were also criticised for joining the UVF-linked PUP in signing up to a ‘graduated response’ following the banning of an Orange Order parade in Ardoyne, north Belfast.
The ‘graduated response’ later failed to materialise after the PUP, TUV and Ukip withdrew their support for the pan-unionist group amid allegations of “betrayal” over parading.
In June 2017 Arlene Foster was criticised over meeting a UDA leader just days after a breakaway faction of the paramilitary organisation was linked to a brutal murder.
The DUP leader spoke with Jackie McDonald at a community office in the Taughmonagh area of south Belfast on Tuesday during canvassing ahead of next week’s general election.
In February, before Assembly election, he urged voters to get behind Mrs Foster saying her “experience and dedication has helped bring about stability and prosperity.
What voters in Britain make of Tory ‘kingmakers’
GIVEN how dear the DUP holds the union with Britain, relatively few people in the rest of the UK are familiar with the party and its policies.
As it became apparent on Friday that Theresa May planned to form a government with Arlene Foster’s party, social media was filled with contributors offering insights into Westminister’s ‘Kingmakers’.
Notably, in the relatively liberal social climate of England, Scotland and Wales, the DUP’s conservative world view was highlighted in mostly pejorative terms.
Here’s a sample: Singer Paloma Faith tweeted: “DUP = awful: anti abortion anti LGBT rights anti woman’s rights and don’t believe in climate change. Very modern (sniff)”.
Left-leaning economist Richard Murphy, who has previously been vocal in his opposition to devolving corporation tax power’s to Stormont, said on Twitter: “If I had to choose a party to have undue influence over government the DUP would be the last barring UKIP. They’re a nightmare of prejudice.”
Environmentalist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot highlighted the links between the DUP and UDA, which just days ago added its voice to the Loyalist Communities Council statement urging voters to back Mrs Foster’s party at the polls. “I trust that The Daily Mail will now devote it’s first 13 pages to the #DUP’s associations with terrorism,” he tweeted.
Veteran Journalists and Channel 4 News anchorman Jon Snow tweeted: “One of the most extreme politicial entities in the British Isles, the 10 MPs of the DUP, is to wag the tail of Mrs May’s minority government.”
Former Liverpool footballer Stan Collymore posted an article from The Irish News which bore the headline ‘Arlene Foster has no regrets after being pictured with UDA Commander [Dee Stitt].
Under it the Talksport contributor wrote: “Come on Dacre and Murdoch and Hopkins and Robinson and Tories. Where’s your outrage now?”
Belfast-born former ITN foreign correspondent Andrea Catherwood tweeted: “Wait until you hear DUP’s views on homosexuality. They make Tim Farrin look like Peter Thatchell.”
Some, however, such as columnist Polly Toynbee misinterpreted the DUP’s priorities. “DUP top priority will be soft border, saving Good Friday agreement and free movement across boundary. That absolutely rules out hard Brexit,” she tweeted.