National Archives

Paul Whitters- 40th Anniversary Reflections

Shared with the permission of Helen Whitters "It has been forty years since I lost my son. Paul, 15, left one evening to visit his girlfriend but was drawn into a small group of boys throwing stones at a bakery – tensions were high in the city as the Hunger Strikes continued. Without warning, a...

Visiting card for Long Kesh

This is a visiting permit for HM Prison, Maze (Long Kesh), signed by the prison governor, Robert Truesdale allowing Merlyn Rees, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Stanley Orme and Donald Concannon, Ministers of State, to visit Gusty Spense, UVF leader, on 12 July 1975.
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NAI, Department of Foreign Affairs, 2003/17/406, Extract from Report of the ECHR: Ireland v UK, 25 January 1976

A deliberate decision was taken by the RUC, the British Army and politicians to present the bombing of McGurk's Bar, Belfast on 4 December 1971 as an IRA 'own goal' despite reliable evidence, both eyewitness and forensic, to the contrary in the immediate aftermath. It is an entirely credible proposition that the disinformation campaign that emerged in the aftermath of...
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CJ4-1919 - First page of notes from meeting between Minister of State Stan Orme with UVF leaders on 15 May 1974

The meeting of Stan Orme with UVF leaders on 15 May was just one of several that took place between the NIO and UVF during the month of May 1974. This particular meeting took place as the UVF was being de-proscribed and made a legal organisation. Orme informed the delegation that the order had been taken through the House of...
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FCO87-1207 - Telegram to FCO from Sir Leonard Figg, British Ambassador to Dublin, re proscription of the UDA, 2 February 1982

In this telegram, Figg reported Irish media reactions to Andy Tyrie's statement that the UDA was a counter-terrorist organisation that would be prepared to pursue terrorists across the border. He was clearly anxious that Tyrie's statement had, once again, put UDA proscription on the political agenda.
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CJ4-830 - Memo to Bill Webster from James Allan, 14-05-1975

1975 was the year of the second IRA ceasefire when sectarian murders of Catholics was very much on the increase. Allan was worried about the alienation of the Catholic community, the rise of international pressure and the sensitivities of the Irish Government and the Vatican. He noted that 'the Catholic population (and indeed some Protestants) believe that there must be...
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CJ4 3963. Memo to David Wyatt (MI6's man in Belfast) from David Blatherwick, 19 October 1981

In this memo, Blatherwick claims that neither Ministers nor officials have had direct dealings with persons or organisations involved in paramilitary activity 'in recent years.' A closed file in Kew, however, gives the lie to that statement. The file's reference and title is: CJ4 3963, Meetings and contacts with UDA leadership 1976-79. In an earlier memo it was claimed that...
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CJ4-4198 - Memo to PWJ Buxton from Stephen Boys-Smith re meeting with Chief Constable, 12 January 1982

Boys-Smith's memo reported on his meeting with the Chief Constable the previous day. He [the Chief Constable] had received intelligence that the UDA was planning to kill 15 IRA members. The police had taken some preventive measures but they might not succeed due to fear of exposing the source of the information. The Chief Constable complained about the government's failure...
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CJ4-3963 - Memo from Colin Davenport to Mr. Fergusson - 22 September 1981

Following renewed calls for the proscription of the UDA on the basis that the UDA and the UFF were 'one and the same' Davenport noted that that UDA had denied any connection with the UFF. He continued cynically: 'In terms of the politics of proscription, we have always regarded the existence of such denials as more important than their accuracy.'
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CJ4-3963 Telegram to British Ambassador, Washington from Lord Carrington, S of S for Defence, 4 November 1980

Carrington, in this telegram, is instructing the British Ambassador to the USA on the line to take relating to murders of prominent Republicans in 1980 - Miriam Daly, John Turnly, Ronald Bunting and Noel Little. 'The UDA as an organisation has never admitted to the use of terrorist violence to achieve its aims.' This is very carefully and ambiguously worded.
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