UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade
UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade formed part of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force in Northern Ireland. The brigade was established in County Armagh in 1972 by its first commander Billy Hanna; the unit operated around the Lurgan and Portadown areas. Subsequent leaders of the brigade were Robin Jackson, known as "The Jackal", Billy Wright; the Mid-Ulster Brigade carried out many attacks in Northern Ireland in the South Armagh area, but it extended its operational reach into the Republic of Ireland. Two of the most notorious attacks in the history of the Troubles were carried out by the Mid-Ulster Brigade: the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the Miami Showband killings in 1975. Members of the Mid-Ulster Brigade were part of the Glenanne gang which the Pat Finucane Centre has since linked to at least 87 lethal attacks in the 1970s; the brigade has been active since 1972. The Portadown unit along with the brigade's leader Billy Wright was stood down on 2 August 1996 by the UVF's Brigade Staff following the brigade's killing of a Catholic taxi driver during a UVF ceasefire.
The brigade, continued to function in the mid-Ulster area. In 2000-2001 the Mid-Ulster Brigade was involved in an acrimonious feud with the Loyalist Volunteer Force, the group set up by Billy Wright, it was during this feud that Mid-Ulster brigadier Richard Jameson was shot dead by the LVF. The Mid-Ulster Brigade was established by senior Ulster Volunteer Force member William Henry Wilson Hanna, known as "Billy", who sat on its Brigade Staff, the UVF's ruling council based on the Shankill Road in Belfast. Hanna served as a sergeant and permanent staff instructor in the Ulster Defence Regiment, was a decorated war hero who won the Military Medal for gallantry in the Korean War when he served in the Royal Ulster Rifles. Hanna started the UVF brigade in his home town of Lurgan in 1972 with the full endorsement of imprisoned UVF leader Gusty Spence. Spence had spent four months out of prison in 1972 when his false kidnapping was staged by the UVF in July after he had been given leave by prison authorities to attend his daughter's wedding.
During his period of freedom he had restructured the UVF on its original 1913 lines by adding brigades, companies and sections. He managed to procure weaponry. On 23 October 1972 an armed UVF gang raided a UDR/Territorial Army depot in Lurgan and stole a large cache of sophisticated guns and ammunition. Spence was sent back to prison in November. By 1972 the Provisional IRA's bombing campaign had escalated in its intensity, which triggered a violent response from loyalist paramilitary groups such as the UVF and Ulster Defence Association; when the religious and political conflict that came to be known as "the Troubles" had broken out in the late 1960s, unionists had formed vigilante groups, ostensibly to protect loyalist areas from nationalist attacks. These had gone on to merge into larger umbrella paramilitary organisations. Hanna, who held the rank of brigadier, appointed himself the brigade's commander, recruited and trained young men from the Portadown and Lurgan areas who were "prepared to defend Ulster at any cost".
These included Robin "the Jackal" Jackson, Harris Boyle, Wesley Somerville, David Alexander Mulholland, William Fulton, among others. When a new member was sworn into the UVF, he was brought before a table, flanked by two masked men and presided over by another. Under Hanna's leadership the Mid-Ulster Brigade became the deadliest loyalist paramilitary group outside Belfast. According to journalist Joe Tiernan, at least 100 Catholics and a number of Protestants lost their lives at the hands of this brigade. Tiernan suggested that Hanna carried out bank and post office robberies and intimidated local businessmen into paying protection money to the Mid-Ulster UVF. Hanna was expelled from the UDR on account of his UVF activity; the Mid-Ulster UVF had always operated as a semi-autonomous, self-contained group maintaining its distance from the Belfast leadership if Hanna did have a seat on the Brigade Staff. Journalist Brendan O'Brien stated that the UVF had derived its greatest strength as well as the organisation's most ruthless members from its Mid-Ulster Brigade.
Author Don Mullan described the brigade as one of the most ruthless battalions operating in the 1970s. A 2011 RTÉ documentary Bombings called it an "efficient sectarian killing machine", it covered a wide area of operations, drawing membership from Portadown, southern County Londonderry, Armagh, Lurgan and rural settlements near these towns, although it had little or no membership in County Fermanagh, where loyalist paramilitaries never joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary and British Army as the defenders of choice in the eyes of local unionists to the degree they did elsewhere. The Mid-Ulster Brigade was part of the Glenanne gang, a notorious group of loyalist extremists who carried out a series of killings and attacks against Catholics in the South Armagh area, in the 1970s; the Pat Finucane Centre attributes at least 87 violent attacks to this gang, which comprised rogue members of the UDR, RUC, as well as the Mid-Ulster UVF and Ulster Defence Association. It was directed by British Military Intelligence and/or RUC Special Branch.
Its name derived from a farm in Glenanne, County Armagh, owned by RUC reservist James Mitchell. It was Hanna who first approached Mitchell and obtained permission to use the farm as a UVF arms dump and bomb-making site; the UVF was a proscribed paramilitary organisation since its formation in 1966.
HM Prison Crumlin Road
HMP Belfast known as Crumlin Road Gaol, is a former prison situated on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is the only Victorian era prison remaining in Northern Ireland since 1996, it is affectionately known as the Crum. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has given it a grade A listed building status because of its architectural and historical significance; the Crumlin Road Courthouse, derelict, stands opposite the Gaol. A tunnel under the main road connects the two buildings and was used to transport the prisoners to the courthouse. Designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, the prison was built between 1843 and 1845 and cost £60,000. Built as a replacement for the County Gaol on Antrim Street in Carrickfergus, known as the County Gaol for Antrim, it was constructed of black basalt rock on ten acres at the bottom of the Crumlin Road. Based on HM Prison Pentonville, it was one of the most advanced prisons of its day. Built within a five-sided wall, the four wings are up to four storeys in height and fan off from the central area, known as The Circle.
The prison was built to hold between 500 and 550 prisoners in cells that measured 12 x 7 feet. It was the first prison in Ireland to be built according to "The Separate System", intended to separate prisoners from each other with no communication between them. In the early 1970s, as many as three prisoners were placed in each cell; the first 106 inmates, who were forced to walk from Carrickfergus Prison in chains, arrived in 1846. These inmates, who were men and children, completed the changeover of the two prisons. Children from impoverished working-class families were imprisoned at the gaol in the early years for offences such as stealing food or clothing. Thirteen-year-old Patrick Magee, sentenced to three months in prison, hanged himself in his cell in 1858. Women inmates were kept in the prison block house until the early 1900s. Ulster suffragettes, among them Dorothy Evans and Madge Muir, were imprisoned in the gaol during 1914; when designed by Lanyon, the prison did not contain a gallows and the executions were carried out in public view until 1901, when an execution chamber was constructed within the prison walls and used until the last of the hangings in 1961.
Seventeen prisoners were executed in the prison, the last being Robert McGladdery, hanged in 1961 for the murder of Pearl Gamble. The condemned would live in a cell, large enough for two guards to live in as well; the bodies of the executed were buried inside the prison in unconsecrated ground, against the back wall beside the prison hospital. The execution of Tom Williams, a nineteen-year-old member of the IRA, took place on 2 September 1942; the hangman in charge was Thomas Pierrepoint, the gaol's most regular hangman, who carried out six executions in the gaol between 1928 and 1942. Williams was one of two executed prisoners whose remains were buried elsewhere. Despite being known as Europe's Alcatraz, there were a number of successful escape attempts at the Gaol; the first recorded escape was in 1866. During its 150-year history the gaol had many prisoners pass through its doors; some of the more well known prisoners included Éamon de Valera, Martin McGuinness, Michael Stone and Bobby Sands.
On 24 November 1991, during the last stages of the Troubles, the Loyalist wing of the prison became the target of a Provisional IRA bomb that killed a UVF and a UDA volunteer. The gaol closed its doors as a prison in 1996 and it was empty for many years. A restoration project was announced in August 2010. In November 2012, the prison opened as a tourist attraction and conference centre and now hosts concerts; the museum welcomed a visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014. Crumlin Road Gaol Northern Ireland Prison Service North Belfast Community Action Unit website A Brief History of the Crumlin Road Gaol at CultureNorthernIreland.org
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.
V. F. of which I have
Northern Ireland peace process
The Northern Ireland peace process is considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, subsequent political developments. In 1994, talks between the leaders of the two main Irish nationalist parties in Northern Ireland, John Hume of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin, continued; these talks led to a series of joint statements on. The talks had been going on since the late 1980s and had secured the backing of the Irish Government through an intermediary, Father Alec Reid. In November it was revealed that the British government had been in talks with the Provisional IRA, although they had long denied it. On Wednesday 15 December 1993, the Joint Declaration on Peace was issued by John Major Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Albert Reynolds Taoiseach, on behalf of the British and Irish governments; this included statements that: The British government had no "selfish strategic or economic" interest in Northern Ireland.
This statement would lead to the repeal of the Government of Ireland Act 1920. The British government would uphold the right of the people of Northern Ireland to decide between the Union with Great Britain or a united Ireland; the people of the island of Ireland and South, had the exclusive right to solve the issues between North and South by mutual consent. The Irish government would try to address unionist fears of a united Ireland by amending the Irish Constitution according to the principle of consent; this would lead to the modification of the Articles 2 and 3. A united Ireland could only be brought about by peaceful means. Peace must involve a permanent end to the use of, or support for, paramilitary violence. Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist Party opposed the Declaration, James Molyneaux of the Ulster Unionist Party argued that it was not a "sell-out" of unionists, Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin requested dialogue with the governments and clarification of the Declaration. On 6 April 1994 the Provisional IRA announced a three-day "temporary cessation of hostilities" to run from Wednesday 6 April – Friday 8 April 1994.
Five months on Wednesday 31 August 1994, the Provisional IRA announced a "cessation of military operations" from midnight. Albert Reynolds, the Irish Taoiseach, said that he accepted the IRA statement as implying a permanent ceasefire. Many unionists were sceptical. UUP leader James Molyneaux, in a rare slip, declared "This is the worst thing that has happened to us."In the following period there were disputes about the permanence of the ceasefire, whether parties linked to paramilitaries should be included in talks, the rate of "normalisation" in Northern Ireland. Loyalist bombings and shootings, punishment beatings from both sides, continued; this is an abbreviated list of events of significance in the lead-up to all-party negotiations: 13 October 1994 The Combined Loyalist Military Command, representing the Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association and Red Hand Commandos announce a loyalist paramilitary ceasefire. Friday 15 December 1994: Albert Reynolds resigned as Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland following the collapse of his Fianna Fáil/Labour coalition.
He was succeeded by John Bruton, heading a "Rainbow Coalition" of Fine Gael and Democratic Left. Wednesday 22 February 1995: Framework Documents published: A New Framework For Agreement, which dealt with North/South institutions, A Framework for Accountable Government in Northern Ireland, which proposed a single-chamber 90-member Assembly, to be elected by proportional representation and, put directly to the electorate in 1997 by Conservative Party candidates standing in Northern Ireland at the general election; the proposals were not welcomed by unionists and the DUP described it as a "one-way street to Dublin" and a "joint government programme for Irish unity". Sunday 13 August 1995: Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin President, addressed a demonstration at Belfast City Hall. A member of the crowd called out to Adams to, "bring back the IRA". In reply Adams said: "They haven't gone away, you know". Friday 8 September 1995: David Trimble was elected leader of the UUP, replacing James Molyneaux. Friday 24 November 1995: a referendum in the Republic of Ireland to change the constitution to allow divorce was narrowly approved, with 50.2% in favour.
Divorce had long been available north of the border. The ban in the Republic was sometimes cited by unionists as evidence of excessive influence by the Catholic Church in the Republic which would represent a threat to the religious liberty of non-Catholics. Tuesday 28 November 1995: a joint communiqué by the British and Irish Governments outlined a "'twin-track' process to make progress in parallel on the decommissioning issue and on all-party negotiations". Preparatory talks were to lead to all-party negotiations beginning by the end of February 1996. US Senator George Mitchell was to lead an international body to provide an independent assessment of the decommissioning issue. Thursday 30 November 1995: Bill Clinton President of the United States, visited Northern Ireland, spoke in favour of the "peace process" to a huge rally at Belfast's City Hall, he called terrorists "yesterday's men". Wednesday 20 December 1995: blaming the Provisional IRA for recent killings of drug dealers, the Irish government decided not to give permanent release to a further ten republican prisoners.
Wednesday 24 January 1996: Dated 22 Januar
Sinn Féin is a left-wing Irish republican political party active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The original Sinn Féin organisation was founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970 after a split within the party and has been associated with the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Mary Lou McDonald has been party president since February 2018. Sinn Féin is one of the two largest parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly holding the same number of seats there as the Democratic Unionist Party. Sinn Féin is the largest nationalist party in that assembly, it held four ministerial posts in the most recent power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive. In the UK House of Commons, Sinn Féin holds seven of Northern Ireland's 18 seats—the second-largest bloc after the DUP. There it follows a policy of abstentionism, refusing to attend vote on bills. In the Oireachtas, Sinn Féin is the largest on the left; the phrase "Sinn Féin" is Irish for "Ourselves" or "We Ourselves", although it is mistranslated as "ourselves alone".
The meaning of the name itself is an assertion of self-determination. Around the time of 1969–1970, owing to the split in the republican movement, there were two groups calling themselves Sinn Féin; the latter became known as Sinn Féin or Provisional Sinn Féin, the former became known as Sinn Féin or Official Sinn Féin. As the "Officials" dropped all mention of Sinn Féin from their name in 1982, instead calling itself the Workers' Party of Ireland, the Provisionals were now known as Sinn Féin. Supporters of Republican Sinn Féin, which came from a 1986 split, still use the term "Provisional Sinn Féin" to refer to the party led by Mary Lou McDonald. Sinn Féin members have been referred to as Shinners, a term intended as a pejorative. Sinn Féin was founded on 28 November 1905, when, at the first annual Convention of the National Council, Arthur Griffith outlined the Sinn Féin policy, "to establish in Ireland's capital a national legislature endowed with the moral authority of the Irish nation".
The party contested the 1908 North Leitrim by-election. Thereafter, both support and membership fell. At the 1910 Ard Fheis the attendance was poor, there was difficulty finding members willing to take seats on the executive. In 1914, Sinn Féin members, including Griffith, joined the anti-Redmond Irish Volunteers, referred to by Redmondites and others as the "Sinn Féin Volunteers". Although Griffith himself did not take part in the Easter Rising of 1916, many Sinn Féin members did, as they were members of both the Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Government and newspapers dubbed the Rising "the Sinn Féin Rising". After the Rising, republicans came together under the banner of Sinn Féin, at the 1917 Ard Fheis the party committed itself for the first time to the establishment of an Irish Republic. In the 1918 general election, Sinn Féin won 73 of Ireland's 105 seats, in January 1919, its MPs assembled in Dublin and proclaimed themselves Dáil Éireann, the parliament of Ireland; the party supported the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence, members of the Dáil government negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty with the British government in 1921.
In the Dáil debates that followed, the party divided on the Treaty. Anti-Treaty members led by Éamon de Valera walked out, pro- and anti-Treaty members took opposite sides in the ensuing Civil War. Pro-Treaty Dáil deputies and other Treaty supporters formed a new party, Cumann na nGaedheal, on 27 April 1923 at a meeting in Dublin, where delegates agreed on a constitution and political programme. Cumann na nGaedheal went on to govern the new Irish Free State for nine years. Anti-Treaty Sinn Féin members continued to boycott the Dáil. At a special Ard Fheis in March 1926, de Valera proposed that elected members be allowed to take their seats in the Dáil if and when the controversial Oath of Allegiance was removed; when his motion was defeated, de Valera resigned from Sinn Féin. He took most Sinn Féin TDs with him. De Valera's resignation meant the loss of financial support from America; the rump Sinn Féin party could field no more than fifteen candidates, won only six seats in the June 1927 general election, a level of support not seen since before 1916.
Vice-President and de facto leader Mary MacSwiney announced that the party did not have the funds to contest the second election called that year, declaring "no true Irish citizen can vote for any of the other parties". Fianna Fáil came to power at the 1932 general election and went on to long dominate politics in the independent Irish state. An attempt in the 1940s to access funds, put in the care of the High Court led to the Sinn Féin Funds case, which the party lost and in which the judge ruled that it was not the legal successor to the Sinn Féin of 1917. At the United Kingd
The Shankill Road is one of the main roads leading through west Belfast, in Northern Ireland. It runs through the working-class, predominantly loyalist, area known as the Shankill; the road stretches westwards for about 2.4 km from central Belfast and is lined, to an extent, by shops. The residents live in the many streets; the area along the Shankill Road forms part of the Court district electoral area. It is known as "Bóthar na Seanchille" in Irish; the first Shankill residents lived at the bottom of what is now known as Glencairn: a small settlement of ancient people inhabited a ring fort, built where the Ballygomartin and Forth rivers meet. A settlement around the point at which the Shankill Road becomes the Woodvale Road, at the junction with Cambrai Street, was known as Shankill from the Irish Seanchill meaning "old church". Believed to date back to 455 AD, it was known as the "Church of St Patrick of the White Ford" and in time had six smaller churches, known as "alterages", attached to it across the west bank of the River Lagan.
The church was an important site of pilgrimage and it is that the ford of the River Farset, which became the core of Belfast, was important because of its site on the pilgrimage route. It was in ruins by the 17th century and had disappeared by the 19th, leaving only its graveyard, its font, an ancient bullaun stone, resides at St Matthew's on Woodvale Road, is said to hold the power to heal warts. As a paved road the Shankill dates back to around the sixteenth century as at the time it was part of the main road to Antrim, a role now filled by the A6; the lower sections of the Shankill Road were in former times the edge of Belfast with both Boundary Street on the lower Shankill and Townsend Street in the middle Shankill taking their names from the fact that at the time they were built they marked the approximate end of Belfast. The area expanded in the mid to late 19th century with the growth of the linen industry. Many of the streets in the Shankill area, such as Leopold Street, Cambrai Street and Brussels Street, were named after places and people connected with Belgium or Flanders, where the flax from which the linen was woven was grown.
The linen industry, along with others, successful in the area, declined in the mid-20th century leading to high unemployment levels, which remain at the present time. The Harland and Wolff shipyard, although on the other side of Belfast, was a traditional employer for the area, it too has seen its workforce numbers decline in recent years; the area was a regular scene of rioting in the nineteenth century of a sectarian nature after Irish Catholic areas on the Falls Road and Ardoyne emerged along with the city's prosperity. One such riot occurred on 9 June 1886 following the defeat of the Government of Ireland Bill 1886 when a crowd of around 2,000 locals clashed with Royal Irish Constabulary police attempting to stop the mob from looting a liquor store. Local law enforcement officers had to barricade themselves in Bower's Hill barracks where a long siege followed. Bower's Hill was a name applied to the area of the road between Crimea Street; the West Belfast Division of the original Ulster Volunteer Force organised on the Shankill and drilled in Glencairn and some of its members saw service in the First World War with the 36th Division.
A garden of remembrance beside the Shankill Graveyard and a mural on Conway Street commemorate those who fought in the war. Recruitment was high during the Second World War and that conflict saw damage occur to the Shankill Road as part of the Belfast Blitz when a Luftwaffe bomb hit a shelter on Percy Street, killing many people; the site of the destruction was visited by the Duchess of Gloucester soon after the attack. During the Troubles, the Shankill was a centre for loyalist paramilitarism; the modern Ulster Volunteer Force had its genesis on the Shankill and its first attack occurred on the road on 7 May 1966 when a group of UVF men led by Gusty Spence petrol bombed a Catholic-owned pub. Fire engulfed the house next door, killing the elderly Protestant widow, Matilda Gould, who lived there; this was followed on 27 May by the murder of John Scullion, a Catholic, as he walked home from a pub. On 26 June a Catholic civilian, Peter Ward, a native of the Republic of Ireland, was killed and two others wounded as they left a pub on the Shankill's Malvern Street.
Shortly after this attack and three others were arrested and convicted. The UVF continued to be active on the Shankill throughout the Troubles, most notoriously with the Shankill Butchers led by Lenny Murphy, as well as the likes of William Marchant and Frankie Curry, the latter a member of the Red Hand Commando; the Ulster Defence Association, established in September 1971 began on the Shankill when vigilante groups such John McKeague's Shankill Defence Association and the Woodvale Defence Association merged into a larger structure. Under the leadership of Charles Harding Smith and Andy Tyrie the Shankill Road became the centre of UDA activity with the movement establishing its headquarters on the road and leading members such as James Craig, Davy Payne and Tommy Lyttle making their homes in the area; the Shankill was covered by the West Belfast Battalion of the UDA, divided into three companies A, B and C. During the 1990s C Company under Johnny Adair became one of the most active units in the UDA with gunmen such as Stephen McKeag responsible for several murders.
C Company would feud with both the UVF and the rest of the UDA until
For other persons named Frank Gallagher, see Frank Gallagher Frankie Gallagher is a loyalist community worker from Northern Ireland and leading spokesman for the Ulster Political Research Group which offers political advice to the Ulster Defence Association. Gallagher had little involvement in politics prior to the dissolution of the Ulster Democratic Party, but rather was a community worker in East Belfast, known to count convicted murderer of six people Michael Stone amongst his friends. During this time he worked for Gae Lairn, an Ulster Scots based community project for former prisoners. Despite his comparatively low profile, when the UDA decided to recall the UPRG Gallagher was chosen along with the likes of Tommy Kirkham and Sammy Duddy to provide a new team of spokesmen for their political arm. Gallagher became one of the leading spokesmen for the organisation and announced the UDA ceasefire in 2003. Subsequently he joined Kirkham, Frank McCoubrey, Jackie McDonald and Stanley Fletcher in a historic meeting with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2004.
Gallagher was a staunch critic of UDA renegade brigadier Jim Gray and accused him of using his links with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to criminalize loyalist communities by building a drugs empire that the police would not touch. Following Gray's murder Gallagher argued that he had created hundreds of victims amongst East Belfast's loyalist community and claimed that there would be no mourners from Gray's home estate of Tullycarnet, he has since become a leading voice of opposition against drug dealing in loyalist estates. He has claimed that loyalist communities have enjoyed little dividend from the peace process and has claimed that the issue of weapons decommissioning has been used unfairly by the governments to withhold funding from community projects. Despite this he has remained a supporter of the Belfast Agreement to the extent that he urged UPRG supporters to vote Democratic Unionist Party or Ulster Unionist Party in the 2007 Northern Ireland Assembly election, rather than supporting the dissident independent unionists.
Whilst Gallagher welcomed funding for UDA-backed projects in 2007 he argued that the government had to accept that it was essential for the government to accept that the UDA was central to loyalist communities and that they could not be taken out of the equation in determining how money was spent. Ulster Defence Association Ulster Political Research Group