Ulster Volunteer Force

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The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is a loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland. The current incarnation was formed in May 1966 and named after the Ulster Volunteers of 1912, although there is no direct link between the two. The group undertook an armed campaign of almost thirty years during "The Troubles". It declared a ceasefire in 1994, although sporadic attacks continued until it officially ended its armed campaign in May 2007.

The UVF's declared goal was to destroy Irish republican paramilitary groups. However, the vast majority (more than two-thirds)[1][2] of its 481 known victims were Catholic civilians. During the conflict, its deadliest attack in Northern Ireland was the "McGurk's Bar bombing", which killed fifteen civilians. The group also carried out a handful of attacks in the Republic of Ireland, the most deadly of which were the "Dublin and Monaghan bombings" — this killed 33 civilians, the highest number of deaths in a single day during the conflict.

The group is a proscribed organisation in the Republic of Ireland and a designated terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom.

Contents

History

The 1960s

The year 1966 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising — when Irish republicans seized key buildings in Dublin and declared an independent Irish Republic. On 8 March 1966, a group of ex-Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteers planted a bomb that destroyed Nelson's Pillar in Dublin. On 17 April, large republican parades took place in Belfast to mark the anniversary. Some unionists and loyalists feared there would be a "revival" of the IRA. Since 1964 there had also been a growing campaign for equality reforms in Northern Ireland. This was led by groups like Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ), which became the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA). They sought to end the discrimination suffered by Catholics in housing, employment and through gerrymandering. Prime Minister Terence O'Neill was willing to accept some of the demands. The unionists, who were overwhelmingly Protestant, feared losing their grip on power.

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