From the Pat Finucane Centre:
For some weeks the PFC has collaborated with the Irish News on an investigation into collusion between the UDR and loyalist paramilitaries. The results of this investigation by journalist Steven Mc Caffery can be read in the Irish News today.
This follows on from our discovery of documents at the Public Records Office in London earlier this year while carrying out joint research with Justice for the Forgotten (JFTF). Dublin based JFTF represent families of those killed in a number of loyalist attacks in the Republic including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974.
During several days at the Public Records Office in January this year we uncovered a secret official intelligence briefing titled ‘Subversion in the UDR’ and other significant memos and papers. The ‘Subversion’ report was prepared for the Joint Intelligence Committee, the most senior committee of its kind at Westminster, and came to a number of startling conclusions about collusion in the UDR in the early seventies. These include the estimate that between 5% and 15% of members of this locally recruited frontline regiment were loyalist paramilitaries and that the UDR was the single largest source of (stolen) weaponry for loyalist groups.
The Irish News is running a 9 page special on the documents that we discovered with five pages today and another four page special tomorrow. Reaction will be carried on Thursday. We will make all the documents available on the PFC website in the near future and we will also ensure that the Irish News investigation is accessable online for subscribers living outside of Ireland.
Alan Brecknell, a researcher for the PFC, lost his father in a gun and bomb attack on Donnely’s Bar, Silverbridge, Co Armagh on December 19 1975 when three people died. Members of the UDR and RUC assisted loyalist paramiliaries in this and many other attacks. Commenting on the revelations Alan said,
"The importance of these documents cannot be exaggerated. Imagine for instance if it emerged that the US federal government, including the President, were aware that the National Guard was heavily infiltrated by the KKK, that up to 15% of Guardsmen were also klansmen and that the National Guard was the single largest source of weapons for the Klan and yet despite this the National Guard was put on frontline duty in black communities during civil unrest. This is what successive British Prime Ministers did. In fact the role of this regiment was expanded.
As the Irish News editorial states this morning, ‘some form of political solution might have emerged at a much earlier stage’ had the issue of collusion in the UDR been dealt with when the authorities became aware of the sheer scale of the problem. The fact that it wasn’t dealt with but in fact got worse raises strong suspicions that loyalist paramilitaries were in effect pseudo-gangs being used as death squads as part of an official government counter-insurgency strategy aimed at defeating the IRA."