Ulster Protestant Volunteers

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The Ulster Protestant Volunteers was a loyalist and fundamentalist Christian paramilitary group in Northern Ireland.[1] They were active between 1966 and 1969 and closely linked to the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), established by Ian Paisley and Noel Doherty in 1966.

The Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) were founded in 1966 by Revd Ian Paisley and Noel Doherty. Commonly linked with other groups such as the Ulster Constitutional Defence Committee (UCDC) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The UPV often acted alongside the UVF. The inaugural meeting took place in Belfast's Ulster Hall which would later become the UCDC. Their first incidents quickly followed. In the spring of 1966, Members bombed a girl's primary school in Ardoyne where talks to better relations between protestants and Catholics were to take place. In May of that year they had their first kill in Shankill, although it was unintentional. The victim was 70-year-old Matilda Gould who was a protestant that the volunteers mistook for the catholic living next door.[2] Shortly after the UVF and UPV took part in the killings of two catholic men not far from the scene of first attack. The next year in 1967 following a trial of the UVF's leader Gusty Spence the two groups were classified as illegal organizations. In the spring of 1969, the UPV took part in a bombing campaign across Belfast. The bombings took place on 30 March, 4 April, 20 April, 24 and 26 April of 1969.These attacks targeted electricity substations that would remove power from the east and south parts of Belfast. Attacks also took place that targeted the water supply. A separate bombing was also set to target a hydroelectric plant in Ballyshannon. Following this, Irish troops were moved towards the border along with ambulances. British troops were also moved into the area. Shortly after the failed attack in Ballyshannon, a message was issued by the groups. ‘We wish to state that an active service unit from Northern Ireland was dispatched to undertake this task. So long as the threats from Éire continue, so long will the Volunteers of Ulster’s People’s Army strike at targets in Southern Ireland’. This message was followed by several attacks such as in Bodenstown and in Dublin. The night of October 10, 1969 resulted in another killing. This time the victim was another protestant and a constable in the local security forces. The events that followed this death would become known as The Troubles

The troubles were a conflict that started when Catholic nationalists began a violent campaign against the paramilitary protestant forces of Northern Ireland. It also involved British military and police forces. After 30 years, it ultimately ended with 3,500 casualties consisting of both civilians and military forces.[3] Several thousand more were injured. The conflict ended with the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998.[4] The Ulster Volunteer Force and Protestant Volunteers are largely thought to have started the conflict by the police. The conflict was mainly conducted through firefights and bombings.


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  1. ^ "CAIN: Abstracts of Organisations - 'U'". cain.ulster.ac.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  2. ^ "Getting their retaliation in first: 1969 and the re-emergence of paramilitary loyalism". History Ireland. 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  3. ^ Hammer, Joshua. "In Northern Ireland, Getting Past the Troubles". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  4. ^ "Northern Ireland's violent history explained". BBC Newsbeat. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2019-05-10.