Paisleyite movement needs to be extra vigilant when
it comes to demanding a so-called decontamination
period from republicans concerning paramilitary
activity as a few embarrassing skeletons could fall
out of the political cupboard.
might be better for diehard Paisleyite fundamentalists
to keep quiet in case republicans begin quoting
the Bible back at them - especially the New Testament
text of St Matthew's Gospel Chapter 7 and verse
5: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam
out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly
to cast out the mote of thy brother's eye."
practical terms, the nationalist community wants
to hear Paisleyite fundamentalists give a cast-iron
guarantee there will be no more Ulster Protestant
Volunteers, Ulster Third Force, or Ulster Resistance
the DUP has been to the fore in condemning the sectarian
violence against Catholic homes, schools and chapels
in Ian Paisley's own political stomping ground of
North Antrim. The DUP has also condemned the violence
which has erupted as part of the present Ulster
Volunteer Force/Loyalist Volunteer Force feud.
the bitter medicine which the DUP must swallow is
it cannot demand a decontamination period from republicans
if it is not first prepared to renounce past Paisleyite
links with shadowy loyalist paramilitary organisations.
Of course, the DUP will be quick to hammer any allegations
it can be compared to Sinn Fein, which acts as the
political wing of the IRA.
politicians will be equally quick on the draw to
assert the party is not the political front for
any loyalist terror squad or paramilitary group.
In this respect, the Paisleyites would do well to
remember more words from Jesus in Matthew 7, this
time in verse 2: "For with what judgement ye
judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure
ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
Paisleyite hotheads may need to be reminded of a
group known as the Ulster Constitutional Defence
Committee established in 1966 under the chairmanship
of Ian Paisley. The Committee was formed the same
year as Shankill Road loyalists revamped Lord Edward
Carson's original Ulster Volunteer Force as a sectarian
the UCDC was closely linked to another loyalist
extremist group, the Ulster Protestant Volunteers.
Indeed, in June 1966, Paisley in a speech in Holywood,
Co Down, emphasised the UCDC had absolutely no connection
with the UVF, which had just been proscribed.
spite of this public denial, there were allegations
the UVF and UPV enjoyed a close working relationship.
The UPV was always equally closely associated with
Paisley's UCDC, and UPV members accompanied most
of Paisley's parades during the early civil rights
period in the late 1960s a few years before he formed
UPV members were regarded as staunch supporters
of Paisleyism. Organised in local divisions, the
UPV styled itself as "a united Society of Protestant
patriots, pledged by all lawful methods to uphold
and maintain the constitution of Northern Ireland
so long as the United Kingdom maintains a Protestant
monarchy and the terms of the Revolution settlement".
UPV tended to operate as a paramilitary escort for
UCDC-organised parades in much the same way as another
loyalist paramilitary group, the Vanguard Service
Corps - later the Ulster Volunteer Service Corps
- provided escorts for speakers from the Hard Right
Vanguard Unionist movement in the early 1970s.
groups should not be confused with another loyalist
vigilante organisation established in 1977 with
the support of the United Unionist Action Council
and known as the Ulster Service Corps.
the spring of '77, it mounted occasional road blocks
in South Derry, Armagh and Tyrone, claiming to have
some liaison with RUC and Ulster Defence Regiment
members, although this was denied by the authorities.
to have a membership of about 500, this USC's activities
included observation of alleged IRA 'safe houses'.
Most of its original members were believed to have
served with the RUC's B Specials, which were disbanded
However, it was the emergence and existence of groups
such as the Ulster Service Corps which fuelled the
collusion allegations in the nationalist community
between loyalist extremists and the security forces.
nationalists will also remember the late night parades
of the Third Force, a DUP-sponsored vigilante organisation
established in late 1981. It made appearances at
several rallies addressed by Paisley and claimed
its existence reduced the number of murders of Protestants
in border areas.
formation of the Third Force had been preceded by
a show of strength in the Antrim hills at which
around 500 Paisley supporters waved their firearms
certificates to assembled journalists. Whilst branded
as a stunt for the May 1981 local government elections,
the incident nevertheless raised the issue of the
number of legal guns held by Northern Protestants.
was organised on a county basis and a strength of
15,000 to 20,000 was mentioned, however, its launch
was accompanied by warnings from the authorities
that private armies would not be tolerated. The
Third Force largely disappeared after the formation
of the 1982 Northern Assembly.
sinister developments were to be orchestrated by
the Paisleyites in November 1986 when the Ulster
Resistance movement - famous for its red berets
- was launched at an invitation-only rally in Belfast's
Ulster Hall. The event was attended by Paisley and
his deputy Peter Robinson. At one time, the Resistance
was said to have comprised nine battalions.
the DUP was left with massive political egg on its
face following a major arms find in Co Armagh in
November 1988 which included weapons similar to
those seized earlier from the UDA at Portadown and
the UVF in Belfast. It has prompted much speculation
as to the location of the Paisley-supporting Resistance
embarrassment was deepened with the arrest of a
former DUP council candidate which brought the Resistance
and its DUP links under even closer scrutiny. The
Paisleyite knee-jerk reaction was a statement saying
party associations and contacts had been ended with
there were further 'red faces' for the DUP when
three men were arrested in France under suspicion
they were seeking to obtain guns from South Africa
for the Resistance in return for selling missile
is somewhat ironic that hardline unionists are calling
for the republican Colombia Three to be returned
for trial, yet loyalists mounted a campaign calling
the release of the Resistance-linked Paris Three.
In 1991, Ulster Resistance was mentioned as one
of the organisations, along with the UVF and UFF,
in the Combined Loyalist Military Command which
announced the loyalist ceasefire in October 1994.
this loyalist paramilitary 'contamination' seems
to have been forgotten by the modern DUP calling
vehemently for the 'decontamination' of the republican
no use pumping out the empty rhetoric that the UPV,
Third Force, and the Resistance are now defunct.
What we need is a definitive statement from the
Paisley camp that these organisations have 'dumped
arms' and any arsenals - no matter how old - will
be verifably decommissioned.
this clear historical link between Paisleyism as
a unionist ideology and organisation, and loyalist
paramilitaries, nationalism and republicanism could
justly state the time has now come for the DUP to
be put into political quarantine and face its own