Declassified Documents

Latest Articles

  • Use of "torture" in 1971/ 72 was "a political decision"

    This letter, written 31 March 1977, explicitly states that torture in Northern Ireland was a political decision made by then Secretary of State Lord Carrington.
  • Report from Dr. Denis Leigh regarding the death of Sean McKenna

    Medical evidence linking premature death of one of the "Hooded Men", Sean McKenna, with his treatment during "interrogation in-depth" at the hands of RUC Special Branch under the instruction of the British Army.
  • Secretary of State's Rules of Engagement in Northern Ireland

    A memo from a private secretary to the Secretary of State in 1975 suggesting that the SoS would like to see '...some form of dispensation permitting the Forces to open fire in an emergency without fear of subsequent legal action.' The author speculates that compensation claims by the relatives of...
  • British army 'covered up' UDR units links to UVF

    The investigative website, The Detail, in co-operation with the Irish News, published a numbers of articles based on documents uncovered by the PFC at the National Archive in Kew. The declassified documents concern security investigations into loyalist infiltration of 10 UDR, the Belfast city...

Declassified Documents

  • DEFE 24/822 - Ministry of Defence Letter 7 August 1972

    Ministry of Defence internal letter where allegations of collusion are discussed in relation to UDR arms losses.
    Read more
  • British Govt Legal Advice on UDA roadblocks

    Orwellian legal advice on UDA roadblocks from 1972 Advice note from Ministry of Home Affairs dated 22 August 1972 (by this date the duties of this Ministry had been taken over by the Northern Ireland Office) which seeks to retrospectively justify UDA roadblocks which were frequent throughout Belfast and elsewhere in the summer of 1972. The advice note states that...
    Read more
  • Ministerial Memo- role of RUC in interrogation of "Hooded Men"

    Memo outlining the details of a meeting between the Secretary of Sate for Northern Ireland and the Minister of State, the General Officer Commanding (Army), Private Under Secretary, Chief of General Staff and Chief of Defence Staff dated 20th October 1971. Discussion of how to get around the difficulties that the interrogations were carried out by RUC Special Branch, not...
    Read more
  • De-proscription of unlawful organisations (added May 2018)

    Declassified 1974 NIO discussion doc on de-proscription of UVF and Sinn Fein. The juxtaposition of Sinn Fein (as opposed to the IRA) with the UVF tells us much about British government attitudes to loyalist paramilitary organisations. At the time the UDA remained legal and it would be another 18 years before London finally accepted that the UFF was nothing more...
    Read more
  • Thatcher and the UVF

    This note concerns the UVF only by this stage, 1979, Thatcher is the Prime Minister. In a hand written note she urged mention of the ‘Volunteer Ulster Defence Regiment (? Is that the name)’.
    Read more