SOURCE: CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) http://cain.ulst.ac.uk

Text and Research: Martin Melaugh

Glossary of Terms Related to the Political Situation in Northern Ireland

Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH)
A Catholic and Nationalist organisation based in Ireland which has traditionally worked in support of the Catholic faith and also supported Irish Nationalism. The organisation was formed in 1838 and reached its peak in terms of membership at the turn of the century. The groups still organises a number of parades in Northern Ireland each year but does not attract the same level of support as the “Loyal Orders”.

Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD)
http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/images/photos/derry/abdhall.htm - abdhallOne of the “Loyal Orders” organisations; the others being the “Orange Order” and the “Royal Black Institution”. The Apprentice Boys is a Protestant / Loyalist organisation set up in memory of the group of apprentice boys who shut the gates of Derry (Londonderry) on the approaching army of King James II on 7 December 1688. This is the event which led to the siege of Derry (which lasted 105 days until 28 July 1689) and which is commemorated annually by the Apprentice Boys of Derry. The main march organised by the Apprentice Boys takes place in Derry each year on a date close to 12 August. There is an additional parade in Derry each December to commemorate the closing of the gates

British Army (BA)
The United Kingdom's (UK) standing army. Although the British Army has been barracked in Northern Ireland before and since the setting up of the Northern Ireland state, the army was only deployed on the streets of the region on 14 August 1969. For much of the present conflict the British Army played the leading security role in the region. However, since the policy of “Ulsterisation” the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) has been given the lead role and the British Army plays a supporting role. Approximately 501 members of the British Army have been killed in incidents related to the conflict. The British Army have killed 316 people during the conflict of whom 166 were civilians and the majority of these were Catholics.

Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
synonyms: Irish Continuity Army Council (ICAC); Continuity Army Council (CAC)
A Republican paramilitary group which came to prominence in 1996 when it claimed responsibility for a number of attacks and attempted attacks in Northern Ireland. It is widely believe that the CIRA is made up of people who were previously members of other republican groups (particularly the IRA) but who became disaffected with the peace process and the IRA ceasefire. There have been claims that the CIRA is, in effect, the military wing of Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) but this has been denied by RSF leaders. The CIRA has not declared a ceasefire and is opposed to the Good Friday Agreement. The CIRA was believed to be responsible for a bomb explosion at a hotel in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh on 6 February 2000; there were no injuries.
Membership: Membership is probably numbered in the dozens. It is believed that it attracted members from the "real" IRA (rIRA) when that organisation declared a ceasefire in 1998.
Arsenal: The CIRA is known to be in the possession of some weapons that were taken from IRA dumps. The CIRA probably has access to a few dozen rifles, machine guns, and pistols; a small amount of Semtex (commercial high explosive); and a few dozen detonators.

Cumann na mBan
The women's wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The organisation is proscribed (illegal) in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The organisation is believed to play a mainly supporting role in IRA activities.

Dáil Éireann
The “lower house” of the parliament of the Republic of Ireland. The electorate in the Republic of Ireland elect Teachta Dála (TDs - Dáil Deputies; members of Dáil Éiraeann) to represent them in the Irish Parliament.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
synonyms: Ulster Democratic Unionist Party (UDUP)
One of the two main Unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. The DUP was formed in September 1971 by Ian Paisley, currently leader of the DUP, and Desmond Boal who was then Member of Parliament for Shankill. Boal said the party would be "right wing in the sense of being strong on the Constitution, but to the left on social policies". The party took over from the Protestant Unionist Party. The DUP has stood in Northern Ireland local government elections, various local assemblies, Westminster general elections, and elections to the European Parliament. The party presently has three (?) Westminster Members of Parliament (Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and William McCrea) and one Member of the European Parliament (Ian Paisley).

Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC)
A small, radical, group set up in November 1967 to campaign for improvements to housing in Derry. The group was made up of radical socialists, republicans and nationalists. One of the prominent members of the group was Eamon McCann. The tactics of the group were to take direct, non-violent, action against those organisations responsible for housing in Derry, particularly the private landlords and Londonderry Corporation which was responsible for much of the publicly rented housing in the area. It was members of the DHAC which decided to invite the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association to organise a march in Derry on 5 October 1968. It was this march, and the Government's response to it, which marked the start of the present “Troubles”.
(see also: Derry Unemployed Action Committee)

Derry Housing Association (DHA)
The DHA was set up in October 1965 and its first chairman was John Hume, currently the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The association provided flats for young couples who could, after two years, obtain a return of half the rent they had paid to put down a deposit on the purchase of a house. The association also undertook the building of new houses. Some of the housing plans of the DHA fell foul of the Unionist controlled Londonderry Corporation who refused planning permission. It was claimed that planning permission was denied because of the likely effect on the religious and political balance of certain key wards in the city.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
The Equality Commission was established in 1999 under the proposals contained in the Good Friday Agreement. The Commission was formed by the merger of four existing bodies: The Fair Employment Commission for Northern Ireland, The Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland, The Commission for Racial Equality (Northern Ireland), and The Northern Ireland Disability Council.

Fianna Fáil (FF)
synonyms: Fianna Fáil The Republican Party
One of the two main political parties in the Republic of Ireland. Originally formed from the wing of Sinn Féin which opposed the treaty of 1921. Originally abstained from the Dáil but under Eamon de Valera FF entered the parliament in 1932. FF has been in power for much of the period since that date. Of the two main parties, FF is regarded by many as tacking a more nationalist and republican line on matters related to Northern Ireland and a United Ireland.

Fine Gael (FG)
One of the two main political parties in the Republic of Ireland. Originally formed from the wing of Sinn Féin which supported the treaty of 1921. The party formed the first government of the Irish Free State. FG has held power for fewer years than FF. On those occasions FF has had to enter into partnership with other political parties to form the government.

Forum for Peace and Reconciliation (FPR)
This was a Forum that was established following the Downing Street Declaration. The first meeting was held on 28 October 1994 in Dublin Castle. The Forum was "to consult on and examine ways in which lasting peace, stability and reconcilation can be established by agreement among all the people of Ireland". None of the Unionist parties attended the Forum.
Paths to a Political Settlement in Ireland: Policy papers submitted to Forum for Peace and Reconciliation (1995)

Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition (GRRC)
The Garvaghy Road Residents Group (later the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition; GRRC) was formed by Nationalists in Portadown in 1995. The main aim of the group was to highlight what they saw as the provocative nature of Orange Order marches along the Garvaghy Road. The group has held protests at Orange parades and attempted to have the marches, mainly the Drumcree church parade and the Twelfth feeder parades, re-routed.

Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
synonyms: People's Liberation Army (PLA); People's Republican Army (PRA); Catholic Reaction Force (CRF)
A Republican paramilitary group which was established in 1975. This group initially used the name People's Liberation Army (PLA) before adopting the name INLA. The INLA has also used a number of covernames including, People's Republican Army (PRA) and Catholic Reaction Force (CRF). At the time it was formed the INLA was considered to be the military wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). The aim of the INLA, and the IRSP, is the re-unification of Ireland and the creation of a revolutionary socialist republic. Many of the initial recruits for the INLA were believed to have come from the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) which had called a ceasefire in 1972. Much of the support came from the Markets and Lower Falls areas of Belfast and from parts of County Derry. The INLA achieved world attention when it claimed responsibility for the bomb which killed Airey Neave within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. Members of the INLA have been involved in a number of feuds when splinter groups developed and numerous previous members have died at the hands of former associates. During the ceasefires that began in 1994 the INLA did not declare a ceasefire, instead it adopted a policy of “no-first-strike”. The INLA has always been a much smaller, and less active, paramilitary group than the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The INLA has killed approximately 125 people during the conflict of whom 45 were members of the security forces. The INLA has had approximately 20 (??) members killed. The INLA called a ceasefire on 22 August 1998.
Membership: Estimated at a couple of dozen active members with a network of supporters in Ireland and continental Europe.
Arsenal: Small stocks of rifles, hand guns and, possibly, grenades; it is also believed to have a small stock of commercial explosive from a source in New Zealand in the mid-1990s.
Jack Holland and Henry McDonald (1994) INLA Deadly Divisions

Irish Republican Army (IRA)
synonyms: Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), Provos, Direct Action Against Drugs
The main Republican paramilitary group involved in the Northern Ireland conflict. The central aim of the IRA is to end British control of Northern Ireland and to achieve the reunification of the island of Ireland. The Provisional IRA was established when the IRA split in December 1969 between the “Officials” and the “Provisionals”. Both groupings had a military wing, the “Official” and “Provisional” IRA, and both had a political wing, the “Official” and “Provisional” Sinn Féin (SF). The “Official” IRA declared a ceasefire in the summer of 1972 and from then on the term IRA was used for the organisation that had developed from the “Provisional” IRA. From a splinter group of a small and badly equipped paramilitary grouping the “Provisional” IRA developed into a comparatively large, well financed, well equipped guerrilla organisation which has been involved in, what it calls, an “armed campaign” for almost three decades. This campaign has involved violent attacks on the security system in the region and on the civilian population. According to Sutton (1994) the IRA was responsible for the deaths of 1,755 people between July 1969 and December 1993. During the same period the IRA lost approximately 243 members. As part of the “Peace Process” the IRA called a ceasefire on 31 August 1994. However, because of what it considered a lack of political movement in the peace process the IRA resumed its “armed campaign” on 9 February 1996. After the election of a Labour government to Westminster a number of developments led to the resumption of the IRA ceasefire on 20 July 1997. The IRA considered that the Good Friday Agreement "document clearly falls short of presenting a solid basis for a lasting settlement" (statement 30 April 1998) however the IRA did not reject Agreement. The IRA is currently on ceasefire but has refused to decommission its weapons; an act which it considers to be a surrender to the British Crown.
Membership: It is thought that membership of the IRA peaked at around 1,500 in the mid-1970s and it is believed that at the time of the 1994 ceasefire membership was approximately 500 with a smaller number being “active” members. The reduced membership coincided with the adoption by the IRA in 1979 of a “cell structure” in an attempt to counter security force penetration through the use of informers. In addition to members in Ireland the IRA also had one or two “active service units” in Britain and mainland Europe.
Arsenal: After its formation the (Provisional) IRA quickly became the most heavily, and best, armed of the various paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. The IRA may have: 600 AK-47 / AKM assault rifles (believed to be Czech and Romanian versions of the AK-47 rifle smuggled from Libya between 1984 and 1987); 60 Armalite AR-15 assault rifles; 12 7.62mm FN MAG medium machine guns; 20 12.7mmx107mm DShK heavy machine guns; 2 to 3 SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles; 40 RPG-7 rocket launchers; 40 Webley .455 revolvers; 6 LPO-50 flame throwers; 600 Assorted detonators; 3 tonnes of Semtex (commercial high explosive.) The IRA has always made use of “home-made” weapons. These weapons became more sophisticated and more powerful over the years and included home-made mortars and fertiliser-based car and lorry bombs. Often these bombs contained hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of pounds of home-made explosives. Several large home-made bombs have been used in the centre of London and Manchester causing hundreds of millions of pounds of damage.
J. Bowyer Bell (1989) The Secret Army: The IRA 1916-1979
Tim Pat Coogan (1987) The IRA
Brendan O'Brien (1995) The Long War: The IRA and Sinn Féin from Armed Struggle to the Peace Process
Peter Taylor (1997) The Provos: The IRA and Sinn Féin
Peter Taylor (1997) Behind the Mask: The IRA and Sinn Féin
See Also:
Patrick Ryan (1999) “The Birth of the Provisionals – A Clash between Politics and Tradition”

Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB)
A secret organisation that was actively involved in the 1916 Rising in Dublin. The IRB was the forerunner of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF)
The LVF was believed to have formed in 1996 from disaffected “maverick” members of the mid-Ulster brigade of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The LVF was believed to have been responsible for the killing of Michael McGoldrick (31), a Catholic man, who was shot dead outside Lurgan on 8 July 1996. Its leader at that time was Billy Wright who was subsequently shot and killed by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) inside the Maze Prison on 27 December 1997. The LVF was responsible for a number of killings in January 1998. During this time the LVF also allowed its name to be used by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) which was supposed to be on ceasefire at the time.
Membership: Membership is probably numbered in the dozens.
Arsenal: The LVF is believed to have a small number of rifles, machineguns, and handguns; small amount of Powergel (commercial plastic explosive). The LVF is the only paramilitary organisation to have handed over some weapons for destruction to the International Commission on Decommissioning.

Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA)
The main organisation involved in the Civil Rights movement from the late 1960s to the 1970s. The NICRA grew out of the work of the Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) and was modelled on the National Council for Civil Liberties based in London. The first committee of the NICRA was made up of representatives of trade unions and some of the political parties. The NICRA had a number of main aims: universal adult suffrage in local government elections; the end to “gerrymandered” electoral boundaries; the allocation of public housing to be on the basis of need; repeal of the Special Powers Act; the disbanding of the “B-Specials”; the end to discrimination in employment; and a system to deal with complaints of discrimination. The NICRA began to lobby for support for its aims but quickly resorted to protest action on the streets of Northern Ireland. The NICRA was asked to support a march in Derry on 5 October 1968. Although the march was banned those taking part tried to proceed along the advertised route but were stopped by a line of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers. The police baton charged the crowd and, when the television pictures were seen later in the day, riots broke out in a number of areas of Northern Ireland. This event sparked the current period of “the Troubles”. The NICRA was engaged in the campaign of civil disobedience against the introduction of internment. Following the shooting of 28 people, 14 of whom died, at a civil rights march in Derry on “Bloody Sunday” on 30 January 1972, the use of street protest was severely curtailed.

Loyal Orders
There are three main “loyal institutions” or “loyal orders”: the Apprentice Boys of Derry, the Loyal Orange Institution (or Orange Order) and the Royal Black Institution.

Strictly the term Loyalist refers to one who is loyal to the British Crown. The term in the Northern Ireland context is used by many commentators to imply that the person gives tacit or actual support the use of force by paramilitary groups to “defend the union” with Britain.

Loyalist Paramilitary Groups
Those paramilitary groups which are prepared to use physical violence in an attempt to ensure the continuation of the union between Northern Ireland and Britain. The main Loyalist paramilitary groups still in existence are: the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and its associated group the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF); the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and its associated group the Red Hand Commando (RHC); and the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF).

In Northern Ireland the term is used to describe those who hold a long-term wish for the reunification of Ireland. The majority of those people who are from the Catholic community are Nationalist. It should be noted that not all Nationalists support Republican groups.
(see also Catholic, Republican)

“North of Ireland”
This term is used, by some Nationalists, to refer to the state of Northern Ireland. The implication in the use of the term is that the person views Northern Ireland as an integral, indivisible part of Ireland. Some Unionists take exception to the use of the term.
(see also: Northern Ireland, “Province”, “Six Counties”, “Ulster”)

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is the official name of the state created by the Government of Ireland Act (1920). Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. The state consists of six (Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh, and Tyrone) of the 32 counties of Ireland. Northern Ireland is often referred to as the “Six Counties” by Nationalists, a term to which many Unionists take exception. The counties of Northern Ireland were (and remain) part of the historical province of Ulster which consisted of nine counties (the other three being Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan). Most Unionists and some Nationalists refer to Northern Ireland as “Ulster” or the “Province”, two terms which many Nationalists take exception to. Northern Ireland is the term used in the CAIN Archive.
(see also: “North of Ireland”, “Province”, “Six Counties”, “Ulster”)

Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association
Formed in 1967 to protest about discrimination against Catholics.

Northern Ireland Office
The Office responsible for the administration of “Direct Rule” in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has two divisions one in Belfast at Stormont and the other in London. The responsibilities of the NIO include political, constitutional, security, and criminal justice matters. The NIO is headed by a Permanent Secretary but is responsible to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who is currently Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam. In the absence of a devolved assembly in the region the NIO is also responsible for the operation of the six Northern Ireland Departments

Official Unionisty Party (OUP)
(see Ulster Unionist Party)

Adjective used to imply a Unionist bias.

Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA)
synonyms: “Officials”; “Stickies”
The Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) was the term given to the remnants of the IRA following the split in 1970 when many members left to form the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA). At the time of the split Cathal Goulding was Chief of Staff of the IRA. Goulding was trying to make the IRA a more political organisation and in particular to end the abstentionist policy. While initially the OIRA was the larger of the two groups the PIRA quickly gained new recruits, and some former members of the OIRA, to become the largest Republican paramilitary group in Ireland. There were a number of feuds between the two groups in the early 1970s. The OIRA called a ceasefire in 1972 and has been largely inactive since that date. The OIRA did however engage in a feud in 1975 with the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). There have also been allegations during the 1980s and 1990s that the OIRA was still in existence. The alleged connections between the OIRA and the Workers' Party (WP) in early 1992 led to a split in the WP and the formation of Democratic Left. During the period 1969 to 1979 the OIRA killed 49 people of whom 13 were members of the security forces. During the same period approximately 21 members of the OIRA were killed.
Membership: The OIRA called a ceasefire in 1972. There have been a number of incidents since then attributed to the “Officials” and it is possible that a small number of people still belong to a remnant of that organisation (the Irish Times, on 14 May 1998, referred to this remnant as “Group B” but the term was coined as far back as the 1970s).
Arsenal: The OIRA may still possess 300 - 400 rifles; a small number of heavy machineguns; and dozens of hand guns.

Parades Commission (PC)
The Parades Commission was established in late 1997 following the recommendations of the North Report. The Commission has two main roles, the first is to try to mediate between those who wish to march through particular areas and those who are opposed to such marches, and the second is to arbitrate on marches where no agreement can be reached. Although the Commission will make an initial ruling on parades, the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) can overturn any decision on public order grounds. The Commission will make its first decisions during Easter 1998. The Parades Commission is composed of seven members. Chairman Alistair Graham; David Hewitt, a Belfast solicitor; Frank Guckian, former director of Derry Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Barbara Erwin, a senior lecturer and Vice-Chair of the Women's Forum, from county Down ; Mr. William Martin from county Down, a farmer and former member of the Police Authority (1991-1997); Aiden Canavan, a lawyer; and Rose Anne McCormick, a lawyer.

Peace People (PP)
synonyms: Community of the Peace People; Northern Ireland Peace People
The organisation was established in 1976 following the death of three young children. A car, which contained members of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit, was shot at by members of the British Army and the car mounted the pavement killing the three Maguire children. There was a large outcry among people in Northern Ireland who joined marches for peace. Out of this initial reaction the Peace People was born. The three founders of the organisation were Mairead Corrigan (now Mairead Corrigan-Maguire), Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown.
The Peace People advocated non-violence as the best means to resolve conflict. The organisation is involved in youth, welfare, and justice work. In 1976 two of the founder members Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The organisation received sustantial aid from Norway, Germany, and the United States of America.

Protestant Unionist Party (PUP)
A political party led by Ian Paisley in the 1960s which dissolved in favour of the Democratic Unionist Party in 1971. In June 1970 Paisley won the North Antrim seat in the Westminster election.
(see: Democratic Unionist Party)

Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF)
synonyms: Sinn Féin
(see: Sinn Féin)

Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)
synonyms: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
(see: Irish Republican Army)

Progressive Unionist Party (PUP)
A small Loyalist political party which has links with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The party was formed in 1979 out of the Independent Unionist Group which had been set up the previous year. Hugh Smyth was one of the founding members. The PUP became more prominent during the 1990s when the party emerged as the political voice of the UVF. The party attracts roughly 3 per cent of the vote. The PUP was one of the 10 political parties which won places at the Northern Ireland forum and the multi-party talks at Stormont.

Orange Order
synonym: Loyal Orange Institution
The largest of the three main Loyal Orders. The Orange Order was founded on 21 September 1795 and currently has between 80,000 to 100,000 members. The order has strong links with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

Orangeman, Orangemen
Terms used to describe members of the Loyal Orange Institution better known as the Orange Order. The terms are commonly used by both Unionists and Nationalists.
(see Abstracts of Organisations)

Paramilitary, Paramilitaries
In Northern Ireland the term refers to groupings of people who adopt forms of military organisation in support of political aims. In Northern Ireland a number of paramilitary groups have operated during the period of “the Troubles”. Most of the groups have been “proscribed” or deemed illegal but there were a few which were not proscribed or proscribed only after being in existence for a considerable length of time.
(see also Loyalist Paramilitary Groups; Republican Paramilitary Groups; terrorist)

The division of the island of Ireland into two states, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Partition was brought about by the Government of Ireland act (1920) and the Treaty of Peace (6 December 1921). Of the 32 counties of Ireland, six were partitioned to become Northern Ireland and the other 26 became the Republic of Ireland.

The arrangement whereby Unionists and Nationalists share the responsibility for government of Northern Ireland. Usually power is shared on the basis of electoral strength or some other agreed arrangement. The only actual experiment was the power-sharing Executive which formed a government during the early months of 1974. Power-sharing arrangements are likely to form a part of the makeup of any future devolved government in Northern Ireland.

A Protestant is a member of one of the numerous Protestant (including Presbyterian) churches. The three main Protestant churches in Northern Ireland are: Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, and Methodist. The terms Protestant and Unionist are often used interchangeably. While it is true that most Protestants are Unionists there is a small minority who are not.

“The Province”
This is a term frequently used, mostly by Unionists, to describe the state of Northern Ireland. It refers to the fact that the six counties that make up the state were, and remain, part of the nine county province of Ulster. Three of the counties of the ancient province of Ulster are in the Republic of Ireland. Some Nationalists take exception to the use of the term “the Province”.
(see also: Northern Ireland, “North of Ireland”, “Six Counties”, “Ulster”)

Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)
(see Irish Republican Army)

"real" Irish Republican Army (rIRA)
synonyms: Óglaigh na hÉireann; "dissident" Irish Republican Army (dIRA)
This Republican Paramilitary group was formed in November 1997 from dissident members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). These former members of the IRA were opposed to the “peace process” and the political leadership of Sinn Féin. The rIRA was believed to include a former “quartermaster-general” of the IRA and a former “head of engineering”. There was speculation over the following months that many members of the “engineering” section of the IRA left to join the rIRA. Membership of the organisation is currently put at between 100 and 200 people. Most of the support for the rIRA is thought to be in the Dundalk and Newry area with some support in Dublin. The rIRA is believed to have access to some of the equipment that belonged to the IRA. The rIRA has been responsible for a number of bomb and mortar attacks during 1997 and 1998.

  •  16 September 1997 - van bomb exploded at RUC station in Markethill, County Armagh
  •  6 January 1998 - car bomb defused in the centre of Banbridge, County Down
  •  20 February 1998 - car bomb exploded at RUC station in Moira, County Down
  • 23 February 1998 - car bomb exploded in centre of Portadown, County Armagh
  • 10 March 1998 - mortar bomb attack on RUC station in Armagh, County Armagh
  • 24 June 1998 - car bomb exploded in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh
  • 22 July 1998 - mortar bomb attack on RUC station in Newry, County Down
  • 28 July 1998 - incendiary bombs found in stores in Portadown, County Armagh

=         2 August 1998 - car bomb in centre of Banbridge, County Down
It is believed to have political links with the Thirty-Two County Sovereignty Committee [The "real" IRA has admitted to being responsible for the bomb in Omagh on Saturday 15 August 1998. This bomb represented the single worst incident in Northern Ireland during the present conflict with 28 people being killed and hundreds injured. It has recently (18 August 1998) announced a suspension of its activities.]
Membership: Membership is probably numbered in the dozens. When the rIRA called its ceasefire in 1998 it is believed that some members joined the CIRA.
Arsenal: The rIRA is believed to be in the possession of some weapons that were taken from IRA dumps. The rIRA probably has access to a few dozen rifles, machine guns, and pistols; a small amount of Semtex (commercial high explosive); and a small number of detonators.

Republic of Ireland
The name given to the territory previously called Éire when independent Ireland declared itself a Republic on Easter Monday (April 18), 1949. The state is made up of 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland. In the CAIN Archive the state is referred to as either the "Republic of Ireland" or "the Republic".
(see also: Éire, Irish Free State, “South of Ireland”, “Twenty-Six Counties”)

Strictly the term refers to a person who supports the style of government based on a republic over a monarchy. In a Northern Ireland context the term Republican is taken to imply that the person gives tacit or actual support to the use of physical force by paramilitary groups with Republican aims. The main aim of Republicans being the establishment of a United (32 county) Ireland.

Republican Paramilitary Groups
Those paramilitary groups which are prepared to use physical violence in an attempt to achieve a 32 county United Ireland. The main Republican paramilitary groups still in existence are: the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a group believed to be associated with it Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD); Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA); and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

Republican Sinn Féin (RSF)
A breakaway group from Sinn Féin (SF) which was formed in 1986 in opposition to SF's new policy of ending abstention from the Dáil. Opposed the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefires and the Peace Process. Some commentators believe that RSF has links with the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA).

Royal Irish Regiment (RIR)
A regiment of the British Army formed in July 1992 when the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and the Royal Irish Rangers were merged. Most commentators saw this as a move to try and deal with the persistent criticism of the UDR. The UDR was almost entirely Protestant and a number of its members have been involved with Loyalist paramilitary groups. The RIR is made up of six home battalions and one battalion for service overseas. The RIR currently employs 5,500 soldiers; 3,000 being full-time and 2,500 part time.
(see also: Ulster Defence Regiment)

Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
The RUC is the Northern Ireland police force. Approximately 93 per cent of the officers of the RUC are Protestant. The force has come under a lot of criticism from the Nationalist community since the beginning of the conflict. Following a period from 1969 to 1975 when the British Army had primacy in security matters, the RUC has gradually taken over the main responsibility for security. The RUC has approximately 8,500 officers (The RUC Reserve is made up of 1,500 part-time and 3,200 full-time officers). 301 officers of the RUC have been killed during the current period of “the Troubles”. During the same time the RUC were responsible for the deaths of (approximately) 52 people, of these 30 were civilians and most of the civilians were Catholics. Following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 a Commission was established to make recommendations on the future of the RUC. The Report of the Commission, the Patten Report, was published on 9 September 1999 and made 175 recommendations

Chris Ryder (1992) The RUC: A Force Under Fire


Sinn Féin (SF)
synonyms: Provisional Sinn Féin
A political party which represents the view of Republicans in Northern Ireland. The party is dedicated to the achievement of a united Ireland. SF supports the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and is viewed as the political wing of the IRA. The party has consistently refused to condemn the use of force by the IRA, but it has on occasion said that it regretted the loss of innocent life that occured in some IRA attacks. The party was formed out the split in the IRA in January 1970 when the original SF split into the Official SF and the Provisional SF. The party began to take part in elections following the sucess in Westminster by-elections by Republican prisoners who took part in the “Hunger Strike” of 1981. In the Assembly election in October 1982 SF obtained 10 per cent of the vote which represented a major breakthrough for the party. In the Westminster election of 1983 SF attacted 13.4 per cent and Gerry Adams won the West Belfast seat. The standing of SF in the polls, and the fear that it would surpass the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) as the main voice of Nationalists in Northern Ireland, was one of the reasons why the British government signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. At the SF Ard Fheis on 2 November 1986 the party decided to end its abstentionist policy and to take any Dáil seats won in future. The new policy led to a number of members leaving to form Republican Sinn Féin (RSF). In 1993 the party entered into renewed talks with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), these meetings marked the beginning of the current Peace Process. SF currently attracts around 17 per cent of the votes of electorate.
Brendan O'Brien (1995) The Long War: The IRA and Sinn Féin from Armed Struggle to the Peace Process
Peter Taylor (1997) The Provos: The IRA and Sinn Féin
Peter Taylor (1997) Behind the Mask: The IRA and Sinn Féin
Liam Clarke (1987) Broadening the Battlefield: The H Blocks and the rise of Sinn Féin

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
The largest of the Nationalist parties in Northern Ireland. The party was formed on 21 August 1970 and its first leader was Gerry Fitt. Many of those who were members of the Nationalist Party joined the SDLP. The party receives about 22 per cent of the vote in elections and its support comes from middle-class and working-class Catholics. The SDLP is a constitutional democratic party which wants to see the reunification of Ireland by agreement. The party withdrew from Stormont in July 1971 in protest at the introduction of Internment. It also supported the civil disobedience campaign which involved the withholding of rent (on public sector houses) and rates. In September 1972 the party proposed a form of joint sovereignty over Northern Ireland. The proposals were contained in the document Towards a New Ireland. The SDLP refused to take part in the Darlington conference in 1972. The party took part in the power-sharing Executive which lasted from January to May 1974. The party took part in the Constitutional Convention election in May 1975 and secured 23.7 per cent of the vote. In 1977 Paddy Devlin was expelled from the party following his criticism that the SDLP had moved away from socialist principals. In 1979 John Hume, then deputy leader of the party, took 25 per cent of the vote in the European election to win one of the three Northern Ireland seats. In 1979 Gerry Fitt resigned from the party saying that it was renouncing its socialist principles and was becoming more “green Nationalist”. John Hume replaced Fitt as party leader. In 1982 the party was against the plan for “rolling devolution”. In the 1983 Westminster election the party refused to enter an electoral pact with Sinn Féin (SF) and fought all 17 seats. However the party won only one seat when John Hume took the Foyle constituency. The party took part in the New Ireland Forum and many of its ideas were incorportated in the report of the forum. Seamus Mallon won the 1986 Westminster by-election in Newry and Mourne and Eddie McGrady won the South Down seat in the 1987 Westminster election. During 1988 John Hume had a series of talks with Gerry Adams, then President of SF, in an attempt to persuade SF that the IRA should call an end to its campaign of violence. Further talks between Hume and Adams in 1993 produced strains within the SDLP. The party supported the Downing Street in December 1993. Although the party was critical of the election to the Northern Ireland Forum in May 1996 it did take part and joined the multi-party talks. The SDLP left the Northern Ireland Forum on 13 July 1996 in protest at the handling of the events surrounding the “stand-off” at Drumcree. The SDLP is currently involved in the multi-party talks at Stormont.
Gerard Murray (1998) John Hume and the SDLP: Impact and Survival in Northern Ireland

Royal Black Institution
The full title of the Royal Black Institution is the “Imperial Grand Black Chapter of the British Commonwealth”. It is one of the three main “Loyal Orders”.

Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
The police force of Northern Ireland. The RUC is responsible for dealing with politically motivated crime as well as ordinary law enforcement. The membership of the force is 93 per cent Protestant. Many Catholics have little trust in the impartiality of the RUC.

The Special Air Service (SAS) is an elite regiment of the British Army specially trained for covert operations. The SAS has been used on numerous occasions in Northern Ireland and it is the unit against which most of the allegations of carrying out a “shoot-to-kill” policy are directed.

Shankill Road
The main road through the Protestant area of west Belfast. The area contains many people who support the aims of Loyalists groups.

Sinn Féin (SF)
A Republican political party, the electoral support for which has increased in recent years to between 15 and 17 per cent. Considered to be the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The main support for the party is from working-class Catholics. Gerry Adams has been President of Sinn Féin (SF) since 1983.

“Six Counties”
This is a term used by Nationalists, particularly Republicans, to describe the state of Northern Ireland. It refers to the fact that the state is made up of six of the 32 counties of Ireland. Many Unionists take exception to the use of the term.
(see also: Northern Ireland, “North of Ireland”, “Province”, “Ulster”)

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
A Nationalist political party which supports the aim of a United Ireland but only through non-violent means. The party attracts a lot of middle-class Catholic supporters and also some working-class support. John Hume has been leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) since 1979.

“South of Ireland”
A term used by some Nationalists to refer to the Republic of Ireland. The implication in the use of the term is that the person views the Republic of Ireland as an integral indivisible part of Ireland. Some Unionists take exception to the use of the term.
(see also: Éire, Irish Free State, Republic of Ireland, “Twenty-Six Counties”)

Stormont refers both to the Unionist controlled government of Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972 and also to the grand buildings in east Belfast in which the government sat between 1932 and 1972.

Sunningdale Agreement
The name given to the agreement, reached in December 1973, to set up a power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland and also to establish a Council of Ireland.

Terrorist is a term used in Northern Ireland to refer to a member of a paramilitary group. The term has been mainly, but not exclusively, used by Unionists and representatives of the British Government and mainly, but again not exclusively, in connection with Republican paramilitary groups. The term is an emotive one and the CAIN Archive uses the more neutral term of “paramilitary”.
(see also Loyalist Paramilitary Groups, Republican Paramilitary Groups, Paramilitary)

“The Troubles”
“The Troubles” is a euphemism used by the people of Northern Ireland for the present conflict. The term has been used before to describe other periods of Irish history. In the CAIN Archive the terms “Northern Ireland conflict” and “the Troubles”, are used interchangeably.

“Twenty-Six Counties”
This is one of the terms used by some Nationalists, particularly Republicans, to describe the Republic of Ireland. It refers to the fact that the state is made up of twenty-six of the 32 counties of Ireland. Many people take exception to the use of the term.
(see also: Éire, Irish Free State, Republic of Ireland, “South of Ireland”)

This is a term frequently used, mostly by Unionists, to describe the state of Northern Ireland. It refers to the fact that the six counties that make up the state were, and remain, part of the province of Ulster. Some people, mainly Nationalists, take exception to the use of the term.
(see also: Northern Ireland, “North of Ireland”, “Province”, “Six Counties”)

Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
A Loyalist paramilitary group. A covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
synonyms: Official Unionist Party (OUP)
The largest of the Unionist parties. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) mainly attracts middle-class Protestant support. The party has close links with the Orange Order. David Trimble has been leader of the UUP since 1995.

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
pseudonyms: Protestant Action Force (PAF), Protestant Action Group (PAG), Red Hand Commando (RHC)
The second largest of the Loyalist paramilitary groups after the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) / Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF). The modern UVF was formed in 1965 and was responsible for the first bomb attacks during the current “Troubles”. It is believed to be associated with the Red Hand Commando (RHC).

In Northern Ireland the term is used to describe those who wish to see the union with Britain maintained. The majority of those people who are from the Protestant community are Unionist. It should be noted that not all Unionists support Loyalist groups.
(see also Protestant, Loyalist)

Unionist Veto
Term used by Nationalists to refer to the fact that the “consent principal” gives the Unionist majority in Northern Ireland an effective veto over the future of the region.
(see also Consent Principal)

United Kingdom
A collective term that includes Britain and Northern Ireland. In other words, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Beginning with the kingdom of England, it was created by three acts of union: with Wales in 1536, Scotland in 1707, and (the whole of) Ireland in 1801. Political union between Britain and Ireland was secured by the Union Bill which was approved on 1 January 1801, so the term United Kingdom originally applied to the whole of Ireland and Britian.
(see also Britain)

Ulster Defence Association (UDA)


The UDA was, and remains, the largest Loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland. It was formed in September 1971 from a number of Loyalist vigilante groups many of which were called “defence associations”; one such group was the Shankill Defence Association. The UDA's first leader was Charles Smith. Members of the UDA have, since 1973, used the cover name of Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) to claim the responsibility for the killing of Catholics. Despite the well known link between the two groups the UDA was only proscribed (declared illegal) on 10 August 1992. The UDA attracted many thousands of members (at its peak the estimated membership was 40,000) and very quickly became a formidable force particularly in Belfast. The UDA had a policy of excluding Members of Parliament (MPs) and clergymen from its membership and sought to retain its working-class credentials. During the protests against the imposition of direct rule from Westminster the UDA campaigned with Ulster Vanguard and the Loyalist Association of Workers (LAW). The UDA arranged massive displays of strength on the streets of Belfast during the summer of 1972, when thousands of “uniformed” members marched through the city centre. One of the biggest “stand-offs” between the UDA and the British Army at this time took place on 3 July 1972 in Belfast, when 8,000 UDA members confronted 250 troops. However, it was during the May 1974 Ulster Workers' Council strike that the UDA carried out its biggest operation. It was the UDA, through the use of road blocks, which brought large sections of Northern Ireland to a stand-still. From 1973 the UFF was responsible for scores of shootings and bombing attacks. In 1977 the UDA supported the United Unionist Action Council (UUAC) strike, but it did not support Ian Paisley's “Day of Action” nor his “Third Force” in 1981. In 1978 the UDA sponsored the New Ulster Political Research Group (NUPRG) a political think-tank. In March 1979 the NUPRG issued a proposal for an independent Northern Ireland. In June 1981 the Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party (ULDP) was established to replace the NUPRG. The ULDP advocated independence for Northern Ireland within the British Commonwealth and the European Community. The UDA opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement but was not in favour of a national strike over the issue. In January 1987 the UDA published the document Common Sense which set out plans for a future political settlement. The document did receive favourable responses from the British government, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). In December 1987 John McMichael, then deputy leader of the UDA, was killed in a bomb attack carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). However, it was alleged that McMichael had been set up by fellow members of the UDA. Early in 1988 Andy Tyrie was removed as leader of the UDA and control passed to an “inner council” of six members. During 1988 large quantities of arms were secured by the UDA some of which came from South Africa. In October 1988 both the UDA and the UFF were included in the direct broadcasting ban. In 1989 the ULDP changed its name to Ulster Democratic Party (UDP). During the Stevens inquiry it became apparent that the UDA had access to a large number of security files on Republicans and suspected members of Republican paramilitary groups. During the 1990s the UFF stepped up its attacks on Catholics and Republicans. It also attacked SDLP politicians and councillors. There were a number of multiple killings including: five Catholics on 5 February 1992 in Belfast; three Catholics on 14 November 1992; six Catholics during 48 hours in March 1993; and six Catholics and one Protestant on 30 October 1993. The UDA and the UFF joined with other Loyalist paramilitary groups in calling a ceasefire on 13 October 1994 in response to the earlier IRA ceasefire. The UDP earned a place at the multi-party talks following the Forum election in May 1996. The UFF (and the UDA) broke their ceasefire during December 1997 and January 1998 and this resulted in the UDP being expelled from the talks. The UDP were readmitted to the talks when the UFF announced a renewed ceasefire on 23 January 1998. Although the paramilitary organisations had resevations about the Good Friday Agreement they backed the UDP in its support for the Agreement.

Membership: At its peak in the mid-1970s, the UDA could organise 30,000 members on the streets of Belfast. Its current strength is probably several hundred with a few dozen being “active” in the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) a covername used by the UDA.

Arsenal: 200 AK-47 rifles, Uzi machineguns, and machine pistols (also home-made submachine guns, perhaps hundreds); 200 handguns; an unknown amount of Powergel (commercial plastic explosive) which was probably obtained some time in 1994;

Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR)

The UDR was a locally recruited regiment of the British Army and became operational on 1 April 1970. The UDR was merged with the Royal Irish Rangers in July 1992. The UDR was founded following recommendations in the Hunt Report which recommended the replacing of the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC; or “B-Specials”) with a regiment attached to the British Army. However, many of the members of the new regiment were former “B-Specials” and while the UDR did initially attract Catholic membership of 18 per cent this figure soon fell. At the time of its merger the UDR had an almost exclusively Protestant membership with only 3 per cent Catholics. During its existence there were many allegations of links with Loyalist paramilitary groups and a number of UDR soldiers were convicted of the murder of Catholics and other crimes. Following the Stevens inquiry into collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitary groups, 10 members of the UDR were charged with having information likely to be of use to terrorists. During its existence the UDR lost 197 serving members and 47 former members who where killed mainly by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The UDR killed 2 members of the IRA and 6 Catholic civilians.

Ulster Democratic Party (UDP)
synonyms: Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party (ULDP)
The UDP was formed in 1989 from the ULDP which had been set up by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in 1981. The first chairman of the ULDP was John McMichael who was killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1987. The ULDP had no real success in elections. The UDP seeks to present itself as a distinct and separate organisation from the UDA, much in the same fashion as Sinn Féin (SF) sees its relationship with the IRA. The UDP would however say that it provides political advice to the UDA. In the 1996 Forum Elections in Northern Ireland the UDP polled 2.2 per cent of the vote. The current leader of the UDP is Gary McMichael (son of John McMichael).

Ulster Democratic Unionist Party (UDUP)
synonyms: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
(see: Democratic Unionist Party; DUP)

Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
synonyms: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
The UFF is a cover-name used by the UDA and as such the UFF could draw on the support of one of the largest Loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland.
(see: Ulster Defence Association; UDA)

Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party (ULDP)
synonyms: Ulster Democratic Party (UDP)
(see: Ulster Democratic Party)

Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) (“B-Specials”)
The USC, or “Specials”, were originally formed in 1920 by the British Administration in Ireland. The force was an auxiliary paramilitary force made up of three units, “A”, “B”, and “C”. The “A-Specials” were full-time and were housed in barracks, the “B-Specials” were part-time and were used on patrols and check-points, and the “C-Specials” did not perform any regular duties but held arms and could be mobilised in the case of an emergency. The “A” and “C” Specials were disbanded in 1925 but the “B-Specials” were retained and were used during Irish Republican Army (IRA) campaigns in Northern Ireland. The “B-Specials” were an entirely Protestant force and were viewed with distrust and fear by Catholics in Northern Ireland. In 1969 the “B-Specials” were deployed in a number of areas. The “B-Special”s were responsible for shooting dead a Catholic civilian on 14 August 1969. The Hunt Report recommended the replacement of the “B-Specials” with a locally recruited regiment of the British Army and the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) became operational on 1 April 1970.
“Why” - A pamphlet published by the Ulster Special Constabulary Association (1980)

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
synonyms: Official Unionist Party (OUP)
The UUP is the main Unionist political party in Northern Ireland and is also the party which attracts the largest number of voters in most elections in the region. The UUP has close links with the Orange Order with many of the political leaders and members of the UUP also being members of the Orange Order or one of the other loyal orders. The Ulster Unionist Party was also known as the Official Unionist Party during the 1970s because of the fact that it represented the remnants of the Unionist Party which governed Northern Ireland at Stormont between 1921 and 1972. When Terence O'Neill began to introduced reforms in the late 1960s, to meet some of the concerns of the Civil Rights Movement, the Unionist Party came under strain and split between those who supported O'Neill and those who opposed him. Some O'Neill supporters left to form the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI). Some of those who were opposed to O'Neill left to join Vanguard, or the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Some of those who had later supported Brian Faulkner left to form the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (UPNI). Although the party was a branch of the British Conservative Party (“the Conservative and Unionist Party”) the decision of the Conservative government, led by Edward Heath, in March 1972 to prorogued the parliament at Stormont and introduce “Direct Rule” from Westminster virtually broke the link between the two parties. In the Assembly election of 1973 the UUP obtained 24 seats but was split between those who supported Brian Faulkner and power-sharing and those who were against. When Faulkner entered the 1974 Executive the party split between those who were prepared to accept the Sunningdale Agreement and those who were against the proposals for a Council of Ireland contained in the agreement. The UUP was part of the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) which voted to reject the Sunningdale Agreement. This vote and the split in the Unionist party led to Faulkner’s resignation. Enoch Powell was adopted by the UUP as its candidate for South Down and won the seat on 10 October 1974. Powell remained influential in the party until he lost the seat and retired from politics on 11 June 1987. By the time of the election to the Constitutional Convention in 1975 the UUP's share of the vote was down to 25.8 per cent. In 1976 some members of the UUP were involved in secret talks with members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and this lead to disagreement with the DUP. The UUP was not involved in the May 1977 Loyalist strike and this put further strain on links with the DUP. The UUP secured additional seats for Northern Ireland at the Westminster parliament, increasing the number from 12 to 17. Harry West resigned as leader of the UUP in July 1979 following a poor result in the European election of June 1979. James Molyneaux succeeded West as party leader. The UUP boycotted the Stormont Constitutional Conference announced by Humphrey Atkins, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and also boycotted the Advisory Council. The UUP joined the Loyalist “Day of Action” on 23 November 1981 to demand tougher security measures. During the 1983 Westminster election the UUP entered into an electoral pact with the DUP in three of the constituencies. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) on 15 November 1985 the UUP worked closely with the DUP to try to break the agreement. The return of a Conservative government committed to the AIA in June 1987 resulted in an end to the boycott of government ministers as the UUP entered a series of “talks about talks”. Further inter-party talks were held in 1991 with the UUP involved on the basis that the AIA might be replaced by some form of devolved government in Northern Ireland. On 21 September 1992 a delegation from the UUP went to Dublin as part of the Brooke-Mayhew Talks. During the end of the period of Conservative government led by John Major, April 1992 to May 1997, the UUP effectively held a balance of power and had an “understanding” with the British government. When the Hume-Adams Initiative was revealed the UUP warned against any move away from the inter-party talks. The UUP did not oppose the Downing Street Declaration on 15 December 1993. Little progress was initially made during the period of the multi-party talks at Stormont. It was not until the election of the Labour government in May 1997 with a large majority at Westminster that the pace of political events began to quicken. When Sinn Féin (SF) entered the multi-party talks at Stormont the UUP refused to enter into direct talks with them. The UUP remained in the talks and was one of the parties which signed the “Good Friday” Agreement. In recent elections the UUP has received between 24 and 28 per cent of the total votes cast. The current leader of the UUP is David Trimble who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Upper Bann.

Feargal Cochrane (1997) Unionist Politics and the Politics of Unionism since the Anglo-Irish Agreement

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
synonyms: Protestant Action Force; Protestant Action Group
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is a Loyalist paramilitary group that was formed in 1966. The group adopted the name of the previous UVF which was formed in 1912 to oppose, by armed force, the arrangements for Home Rule in Ireland. Potential conflict in Ireland was averted by the First World War and many of the members of the then UVF joined the British Army's 36th (Ulster) Division and fought - and died in large numbers - on the battlefields of the Somme. The aim of the present UVF is to ensure that Northern Ireland's constitutional position within the United Kingdom is secure. The re-established UVF was opposed to the reform that were being considered in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As Loyalist paramilitary groups often did not claim responsibility for the killings they committed and on many occasions used pseudonyms, it is difficult to give an accurate count of the number of people killed by each organisation. However, the UVF has been responsible, over a period of almost 30 years, for scores of assassinations in Northern Ireland, mostly of innocent Catholics. The UVF is also believed to have been responsible for the greatest loss of life in a single day when it planted bombs in Dublin and Monaghan on 17 May 1974 killing 33 innocent people. In May 1966 the UVF killed a Catholic man in the Falls Road, Belfast. On 26 June 1966 Peter Ward (18), who was working as a barman in a pub in the Shankill Road, Belfast, was shot dead as he left work. Augustus (“Gusty”) Spence was sentenced to life imprisonment for this killing. In the early 1970s the main centres of UVF influence were the Shankill area of Belfast, East Antrim, and parts of County Armagh. In April 1974 Merlyn Rees, then Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland, removed the proscription on the UVF (making it a legal organisation) in an attempt to encourage it to move towards constitutional politics. However, on 2 October 1975 the UVF carried out a number of attacks in which 12 people died, 6 of them were Catholic civilians. On 3 October 1975 the UVF was once again “proscribed”. On 5 October 1975 the security forces swooped on a number of houses in Belfast and East Antrim and arrested 26 suspected UVF men. In March 1977 the men were sentenced to a total of 700 years imprisonment. In April 1983 Joseph Bennett, who was a commander in the UVF, became an informer giving the RUC information which lead to the conviction of 14 leading members of the UVF. In the coming years the UVF was to suffer from the effects of further informers. During the 1990s the UVF had a particularly active unit in the Portadown area of Northern Ireland which was responsible for the killing of many innocent Catholics. The UVF became a part of the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) in 1991 (?). In 1996 a number of disaffected “maverick” members of the mid-Ulster brigade of the UVF broke away to form the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) is considered to be the source of political analysis for the UVF. The UVF has been on ceasefire since October 1994. The announcement of the ceasefire by the CLMC was made by “Gusty” Spence. [Estimates of the level of membership and the size of the arsenal of weapons available to the UVF are difficult to make. The UVF may have reached its high point with a membership of approximately 1,500 in the early 1970s. It is probable that the UVF currently has several hundred members many of whom would provide support to those who actually carry out attacks. The UVF is believed to have access to AK-47 rifles, pistols, and revolvers. It also believed to have a small number of RPG-7 rocket launchers. The UVF has also used stolen Powergel mining explosive in a number of attacks some of which were launched in the Republic of Ireland.]
Membership: Membership of the UVF is estimated to be up to several hundred, with a smaller number being “active” members.
Arsenal: 200 AK-47 rifles, Uzi machineguns, and machine pistols (also home-made submachine guns); dozens of pistols and revolvers. The UVF also has a small number of RPG-7 rocket launchers and a small amount of Powergel (commercial plastic explosive), some of which has been used in occasional bomb attacks in the Republic of Ireland.
Cusack and McDonald (1997) UVF

Ulster Workers' Council (UWC)
The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) was a Loyalist organisation set up in 1974. It was comprised initially of a group of workers from the major industries in Belfast who had been part of the Loyalist Association of Workers (LAW) (LAW was in existence between 1971 to 1973.) Law was involved in the United Loyalist Council Strike in February 1973. However, it was the UWC which organised the strike of May 1974 which brought down the power-sharing Executive government of Northern Ireland. The UWC received the complete support of Loyalist paramilitary groups. The particular support of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), with its considerable supply of manpower, enabled the UWC to halt power supplies, transport, industry, and commerce. The UWC was controlled through a co-ordinating committee which was chaired by Glenn Barr, then a Vanguard Assembly member and member of the UDA. The committee had a number of Loyalist paramilitary representatives. Once the strike began to have an impact a number of politicians, including Ian Paisley, joined the committee. Spokesmen for the committee were Jim Smyth and Harry Murray. The UWC took part in the 1977 Loyalist strike. In 1981 Harry Murray said that the UWC was being reorganised to campaign on economic matters.
(See also: Loyalist Association of Workers; LAW)
Don Anderson (1994) Fourteen May Days: The Inside Story of the Loyalist Strike of 1974

© 2017 Northern Ireland Screen. All Rights Reserved.