Belfast is a city in the United Kingdom, the capital city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is second-largest on the island of Ireland, it had a population of 333,871 as of 2015. By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port, it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was a key industry. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city and it became the capital of Northern Ireland following the Partition of Ireland in 1922, its status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War of 1939–1945. Belfast suffered in the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world's most dangerous cities.
However, a survey conducted by a finance company and published in 2016 rated the city as one of the safest within the United Kingdom. Throughout the 21st century, the city has seen a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, has benefitted from substantial economic and commercial growth. Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as for the arts, higher education and law, is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. Belfast is still a major port, with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, it is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network listed Belfast as a Gamma global city in 2018; the name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.
The name would thus translate as " mouth of the sandbar" or " mouth of the ford". This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, its tributary the Farset; this area was the hub. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad. An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located; this interpretation was favoured by John O'Donovan. It seems clear, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing. In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is used. Although the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the city continues to be viewed as straddling County Antrim and County Down; the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age.
The Giant's Ring, a 5,000-year-old henge, is located near the city, the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen in the surrounding hills. Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. John de Courcy built a castle on what is now Castle Street in the city centre in the 12th century, but this was on a lesser scale and not as strategically important as Carrickfergus Castle to the north, built by de Courcy in 1177; the O'Neill clan had a presence in the area. In the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe O'Neill, built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn O'Neill of the Clannaboy O'Neills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, one remaining link being the Conn's Water river flowing through east Belfast. Belfast became a substantial settlement in the 17th century after being established as a town by Sir Arthur Chichester, it was settled by Protestant English and Scottish migrants at the time of the Plantation of Ulster.
In 1791, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast, after Henry Joy McCracken and other prominent Presbyterians from the city invited Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell to a meeting, after having read Tone's "Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland". Evidence of this period of Belfast's growth can still be seen in the oldest areas of the city, known as the Entries. Belfast blossomed as a commercial and industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and became Ireland's pre-eminent industrial city. Industries thrived, including linen, rope-making, heavy engineering and shipbuilding, at the end of the 19th century, Belfast overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland; the Harland and Wolff shipyards became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing up to 35,000 workers. In 1886 the city suffered intense riots over the issue of home rule. In 1920–22, Belfast became the capital of the new entity of Northern Ireland as the island of Ireland was partitioned.
The accompanying conflict cost up to 500 lives in Belfast, the bloodiest sectarian strife in the city until the Troubles of the late 1960s onwards. Belfas
Coal mining is the process of extracting coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, since the 1880s, has been used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United Kingdom and South Africa, a coal mine and its structures are a colliery, a coal mine a pit, the above-ground structures the pit head. In Australia, "colliery" refers to an underground coal mine. In the United States, "colliery" has been used to describe a coal mine operation but nowadays the word is not used. Coal mining has had many developments over the recent years, from the early days of men tunnelling and manually extracting the coal on carts, to large open cut and long wall mines. Mining at this scale requires the use of draglines, conveyors, hydraulic jacks and shearers. Small-scale mining of surface deposits dates back thousands of years. For example, in Roman Britain, the Romans were exploiting most of the major coalfields by the late 2nd century AD.
The Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the 18th century and spread to continental Europe and North America, was based on the availability of coal to power steam engines. International trade expanded when coal-fed steam engines were built for the railways and steamships; until the late nineteenth century coal was mined underground using a pick and shovel, children were employed underground in dangerous conditions. Coal-cutting machines were introduced in the 1880s. By 1912, surface mining was conducted with steam shovels designed for coal mining; the most economical method of coal extraction from coal seams depends on the depth and quality of the seams, the geology and environmental factors. Coal mining processes are differentiated by whether they operate on the underground. Many coals extracted from both surface and underground mines require washing in a coal preparation plant. Technical and economic feasibility are evaluated based on the following: regional geological conditions.
Surface mining and deep underground mining are the two basic methods of mining. The choice of mining method depends on depth, density and thickness of the coal seam. Coal that occurs at depths of 180 to 300 ft are deep mined, but in some cases surface mining techniques can be used. For example, some western U. S. coal that occur at depths in excess of 200 ft are mined by the open pit methods, due to thickness of the seam 60–90 feet. Coals occurring below 300 ft are deep mined. However, there are open pit mining operations working on coal seams up to 1,000–1,500 feet below ground level, for instance Tagebau Hambach in Germany; when coal seams are near the surface, it may be economical to extract the coal using open cut mining methods. Open cast coal mining recovers a greater proportion of the coal deposit than underground methods, as more of the coal seams in the strata may be exploited; this equipment can include the following: Draglines which operate by removing the overburden, power shovels, large trucks in which transport overburden and coal, bucket wheel excavators, conveyors.
In this mining method, explosives are first used in order to break through the surface or overburden, of the mining area. The overburden is removed by draglines or by shovel and truck. Once the coal seam is exposed, it is drilled and mined in strips; the coal is loaded onto large trucks or conveyors for transport to either the coal preparation plant or directly to where it will be used. Most open cast mines in the United States extract bituminous coal. In Canada and South Africa, open cast mining is used for both thermal and metallurgical coals. In New South Wales open casting for steam coal and anthracite is practiced. Surface mining accounts for around 80 percent of production in Australia, while in the US it is used for about 67 percent of production. Globally, about 40 percent of coal production involves surface mining. Strip mining exposes coal by removing earth above each coal seam; this earth is removed in long strips. The overburden from the first strip is deposited in an area outside the planned mining area and referred to as out-of-pit dumping.
Overburden from subsequent strips are deposited in the void left from mining the coal and overburden from the previous strip. This is referred to as in-pit dumping, it is necessary to fragment the overburden by use of explosives. This is accomplished by drilling holes into the overburden, filling the holes with explosives, detonating the explosive; the overburden is removed, using large earth-moving equipment, such as draglines and trucks, excavator and trucks, or bucket-wheels and conveyors. This overburden is put into the mined strip; when all the overburden is removed, the underlying coal seam will be exposed. This block of coal may be drilled and blasted or otherwise loaded onto trucks or conveyors for transport to th
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments". Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.
Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former see themselves as British and the latter see themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by many of those who are non-aligned. For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two sides in what First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble, called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties; the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems, sporadic violence has continued.
Northern Ireland has been the most industrialised region of Ireland. After declining as a result of the political and social turmoil of the Troubles, its economy has grown since the late 1990s; the initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and the links which increased trade with the Republic of Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism and business from around the world. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17.2% in 1986, dropping to 6.1% for June–August 2014 and down by 1.2 percentage points over the year, similar to the UK figure of 6.2%. 58.2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sportspeople from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough and George Best; some people from Northern Ireland prefer to identify as Irish while others prefer to identify as British. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom.
In many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games; the region, now Northern Ireland was the bedrock of the Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century. The English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king Henry VIII in 1542, but Irish resistance made English control fragmentary. Following Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale, the region's Gaelic, Roman Catholic aristocracy fled to continental Europe in 1607 and the region became subject to major programmes of colonialism by Protestant English and Scottish settlers. A rebellion in 1641 by Irish aristocrats against English rule resulted in a massacre of settlers in Ulster in the context of a war breaking out between England and Ireland fuelled by religious intolerance in government.
Victories by English forces in that war and further Protestant victories in the Williamite War in Ireland toward the close of the 17th century solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne in this latter war are still celebrated by some Protestants. Popes Innocent XI and Alexander VIII had supported William of Orange instead of his maternal uncle and father-in-law James II, despite William being Protestant and James a Catholic, due to William's participation in alliance with both Protesant and Catholic powers in Europe in wars against Louis XIV, the powerful King of France, in conflict with the papacy for decades. In 1693, Pope Innocent XII recognised James as continuing King of Great Britain and Ireland in place of William, after reconciliation with Louis. In 1695, contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, a series of penal laws were passed by the Anglican ruling class in Ireland in intense anger at the Pope's recognition of James over William, felt to be a betrayal.
The intention of the la
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve personnel; the modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the English Army, created during the Restoration in 1660. The term British Army was adopted in 1707 after the Acts of Union between Scotland. Although all members of the British Army are expected to swear allegiance to Elizabeth II as their commander-in-chief, the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a peacetime standing army. Therefore, Parliament approves the army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years; the army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff. The British Army has seen action in major wars between the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars.
Britain's victories in these decisive wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Since the end of the Cold War, the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation; until the English Civil War, England never had a standing army with professional officers and careerist corporals and sergeants. It relied on militia organized by local officials, or private forces mobilized by the nobility, or on hired mercenaries from Europe. From the Middle Ages until the English Civil War, when a foreign expeditionary force was needed, such as the one that Henry V of England took to France and that fought at the Battle of Agincourt, the army, a professional one, was raised for the duration of the expedition. During the English Civil War, the members of the Long Parliament realised that the use of county militia organised into regional associations commanded by local members of parliament, while more than able to hold their own in the regions which Parliamentarians controlled, were unlikely to win the war.
So Parliament initiated two actions. The Self-denying Ordinance, with the notable exception of Oliver Cromwell, forbade members of parliament from serving as officers in the Parliamentary armies; this created a distinction between the civilians in Parliament, who tended to be Presbyterian and conciliatory to the Royalists in nature, a corps of professional officers, who tended to Independent politics, to whom they reported. The second action was legislation for the creation of a Parliamentary-funded army, commanded by Lord General Thomas Fairfax, which became known as the New Model Army. While this proved to be a war winning formula, the New Model Army, being organized and politically active, went on to dominate the politics of the Interregnum and by 1660 was disliked; the New Model Army was paid off and disbanded at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. For many decades the excesses of the New Model Army under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell was a horror story and the Whig element recoiled from allowing a standing army.
The militia acts of 1661 and 1662 prevented local authorities from calling up militia and oppressing their own local opponents. Calling up the militia was possible only if the king and local elites agreed to do so. Charles II and his Cavalier supporters favoured a new army under royal control; the first English Army regiments, including elements of the disbanded New Model Army, were formed between November 1660 and January 1661 and became a standing military force for Britain. The Royal Scots and Irish Armies were financed by the parliaments of Ireland. Parliamentary control was established by the Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689, although the monarch continued to influence aspects of army administration until at least the end of the nineteenth century. After the Restoration Charles II pulled together four regiments of infantry and cavalry, calling them his guards, at a cost of £122,000 from his general budget; this became the foundation of the permanent English Army. By 1685 it had grown to 7,500 soldiers in marching regiments, 1,400 men permanently stationed in garrisons.
A rebellion in 1685 allowed James II to raise the forces to 20,000 men. There were 37,000 in 1678. After William and Mary's accession to the throne England involved itself in the War of the Grand Alliance to prevent a French invasion restoring James II. In 1689, William III expanded the army to 74,000, to 94,000 in 1694. Parliament was nervous, reduced the cadre to 7000 in 1697. Scotland and Ireland had theoretically separate military establishments, but they were unofficially merged with the English force. By the time of the 1707 Acts of Union, many regiments of the English and Scottish armies were combined under one operational command and stationed in the Netherlands for the War of the Spanish Succession. Although all the regiments were now part of the new British military establishment, they remained under the old operational-command structure and retained much of the institutional ethos and traditions of the standing armies created shortly after the restoration of the monarchy 47 years earlier.
The order of seniority of the most-senior British Army line regiments is based on that of the English army
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers.
However, the term derives from the letter of protestation from German Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict of the Diet of Speyer condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider and modern movement. In the 16th century, Lutheranism spread from Germany into Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Iceland. Reformed denominations spread in Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and France by reformers such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox; the political separation of the Church of England from the pope under King Henry VIII began Anglicanism, bringing England and Wales into this broad Reformation movement. Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, many other fields. Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or Oriental Orthodoxy.
Without structural unity or central human authority, Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church, in contrast to the Roman Catholic view of the Catholic Church as the visible one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Some denominations do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country. A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists, Anglicans, Reformed, Lutherans and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, charismatic and other churches are on the rise, constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Proponents of the branch theory consider Protestantism one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy. Six princes of the Holy Roman Empire and rulers of fourteen Imperial Free Cities, who issued a protest against the edict of the Diet of Speyer, were the first individuals to be called Protestants; the edict reversed concessions made to the Lutherans with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V three years earlier.
The term protestant, though purely political in nature acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles. However, it is misused to mean any church outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox communions. Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the other major Christian traditions, i.e. Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. During the Reformation, the term protestant was hardly used outside of German politics. People who were involved in the religious movement used the word evangelical. For further details, see the section below. Protestant became a general term, meaning any adherent of the Reformation in the German-speaking area, it was somewhat taken up by Lutherans though Martin Luther himself insisted on Christian or evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French and Swiss Protestants instead preferred the word reformed, which became a popular and alternative name for Calvinists.
The word evangelical, which refers to the gospel, was used for those involved in the religious movement in the German-speaking area beginning in 1517. Nowadays, evangelical is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations in the Lutheran and United Protestant traditions in Europe, those with strong ties to them. Above all the term is used by Protestant bodies in the German-speaking area, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany. In continental Europe, an Evangelical is either a Calvinist, or a United Protestant; the German word evangelisch means Protestant, is different from the German evangelikal, which refers to churches shaped by Evangelicalism. The English word evangelical refers to evangelical Protestant churches, therefore to a certain part of Protestantism rather than to Protestantism as a whole; the English word traces its roots back to the Puritans in England, where Evangelicalism originated, was brought to the United States. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term evangelical, derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "gospel".
The followers of
Joseph Austin Currie is a former Irish Fine Gael politician who served as Minister of State for Justice from 1994 to 1997. He served as a Teachta Dála for the Dublin West constituency from 1989 to 2002 and Member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland for East Tyrone from 1964 to 1972. Currie was born in Northern Ireland, to a Catholic family, he was educated at Queen's University Belfast. Between 1964 and 1972, he was the Nationalist Party Stormont MP for East Tyrone. On 20 June 1968, with others including mediator Father Tom Savage, he began a protest about discrimination in housing allocation by'squatting' in a house in a new council development in Caledon, County Tyrone; the house had been allocated by Dungannon Rural District Council to a 19-year-old unmarried Protestant woman, Emily Beattie, the secretary of a local Unionist politician. All 14 houses in the new council development had been allocated to Protestants; the protesters were evicted by officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, one of whom was Emily Beattie's brother.
The next day the annual conference of the Nationalist Party unanimously approved of the protest action by Austin Currie in Caledon. This was one of the catalysts of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, he became an active member in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. In 1970, he was a founder of the group that established the Social Labour Party. From 1973 to 1974, Currie was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. In 1974, he became chief whip of the SDLP; that same year he became Minister for Housing, Local Government and Planning in the Northern Ireland Executive. He contested the 1979 United Kingdom general election and 1986 by-election in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat, he was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1982 for the same seat. By 1989, Currie had decided to move south, at the general election of that year he was elected as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála for the Dublin West constituency. In 1990, after much procrastination, Fine Gael nominated him as a candidate at the presidential election.
He finished a distant third in the election after Brian Lenihan. However, his transfers flowed overwhelmingly to Robinson, helping Robinson overtake Lenihan and make her Ireland's first female President. In the Rainbow Coalition between 1994 and 1997, he became Minister of State at the Departments of Education and Health. At the 2002 general election he lost his seat in Dáil Éireann when he failed to be elected in Dublin Mid-West, he announced his retirement from politics. He resides in County Kildare, where he trains greyhounds, he lectures and gives talks on issues relating to The Troubles. Austin Currie,'All Hell Will Break Loose,' O'Brien Press, Dublin, 2004
Ulster Volunteer Force
The Ulster Volunteer Force is an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group. It emerged in 1966, its first leader was a former British soldier. The group undertook an armed campaign of thirty years during the Troubles, it declared a ceasefire in 1994 and ended its campaign in 2007, although some of its members have continued to engage in violence and criminal activities. The group is classified as a terrorist organisation by the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, United States; the UVF's declared goals were to combat Irish republicanism – the Irish Republican Army – and to maintain Northern Ireland's status as part of the United Kingdom. It was responsible for more than 500 deaths; the vast majority of its victims were Irish Catholic civilians, who were killed at random. During the conflict, its deadliest attack in Northern Ireland was the 1971 McGurk's Bar bombing, which killed fifteen civilians; the group carried out attacks in the Republic of Ireland from 1969 onward. The biggest of these was the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, which killed 34 civilians, making it the deadliest terrorist attack of the conflict.
The no-warning car bombings had been carried out by units from the Mid-Ulster brigades. The Mid-Ulster Brigade was responsible for the 1975 Miami Showband killings, in which three members of the popular Irish cabaret band were shot dead at a bogus military checkpoint by gunmen in British Army uniforms. Two UVF men were accidentally blown up in this poorly planned attack; the UVF's last major attack was the 1994 Loughinisland massacre, in which its members shot dead six Catholic civilians in a rural pub. Until recent years, it was noted for a policy of limited, selective membership; the other main loyalist paramilitary group during the conflict was the Ulster Defence Association, which had a much larger membership. Since the ceasefire, the UVF has been involved in drug dealing and organised crime; some members have been found responsible for orchestrating a series of racist attacks. The UVF's stated goal was to combat Irish republicanism – the Provisional Irish Republican Army – and maintain Northern Ireland's status as part of the United Kingdom.
The vast majority of its victims were Irish Catholic civilians, who were killed at random. Whenever it claimed responsibility for its attacks, the UVF claimed that those targeted were IRA members or were giving help to the IRA. At other times, attacks on Catholic civilians were claimed as "retaliation" for IRA actions, since the IRA drew all of its support from the Catholic community; such retaliation was seen as an attempt to weaken the IRA's support. Many retaliatory attacks on Catholics were claimed using the covername "Protestant Action Force", which first appeared in autumn 1974, they always signed their statements with the fictitious name "Captain William Johnston". Like the Ulster Defence Association, the UVF's modus operandi involved assassinations, mass shootings and kidnappings, it used submachine guns, assault rifles, grenades, incendiary bombs, booby trap bombs and car bombs. Referring to its activity in the early and mid-1970s, journalist Ed Moloney described no-warning pub bombings as the UVF's "forte".
Members were trained in bomb-making and it developed home-made explosives. In the late summer and autumn of 1973, the UVF detonated more bombs than the UDA and IRA combined, by the time of the group's temporary ceasefire in late November it had been responsible for over 200 explosions that year. However, from 1977 bombs disappeared from the UVF's arsenal owing to a lack of explosives and bomb-makers, plus a conscious decision to abandon their use in favour of more contained methods; the UVF did not return to regular bombings until the early 1990s when it obtained a quantity of the mining explosive Powergel. Since 1964, there had been a growing civil rights campaign in Northern Ireland; the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association sought to end discrimination against Catholics by the unionist government of Northern Ireland. In March and April 1966, Irish republicans held parades throughout Ireland to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. On 8 March, a group of Irish Republican Army volunteers, acting on their own initiative, planted a bomb that destroyed Nelson's Pillar in Dublin.
At the time, the IRA was weak and not engaged in armed action, but some unionists feared that it was about to be revived and launch another campaign in Northern Ireland. In April, Ulster loyalists led by Ian Paisley, a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, founded the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, it set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers. The'Paisleyites' set out to stymie the civil rights movement and oust Terence O'Neill, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Although O'Neill was a unionist, they saw him as being too'soft' on the civil rights movement and too friendly with the Republic of Ireland. There was to be much overlap in membership between the UCDC/UPV and the UVF. On 7 May, loyalists petrol bombed a Catholic-owned pub in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Fire engulfed the house next door, she died of her injuries on 27 June. The group called itself the "Ulster Volunteer Force", after the Ulster Volunteers of the early 20th century, although in the words of a member of the previous organisation "the present para-military organisation... has no connection with the U.
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