BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Ulster Defense Association
Ulster Defense Association #CR0001103
(Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or
Source: MI-5, Interpol
Type: Political terrorist organization
Terrorist actions against the IRA, and their supporters throughout Northern Ireland.
The UDA has no links to terrorist organizations outside of the U.K. [MI-5]
The membership of the UDA has been estimated in the range of 40,000 to 60,000.
Tightly controlled military hierarchy, organized into companies, corps and battalions.
Andy Tyrie [#LL5721934], leader
The UDA is affiliated with the Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party and the New Ulster
Political Research Group.
Smallarms, and military equipment. Excellent intelligence and moderate training
facilities. Excellent funding.
Suspected Criminal Activity:
Beginning in mid-1980 and lasting into 1981 an assassination campaign was waged
against republicans and nationalists in the north. John Turnley, a nationalist member of
the Westminster parliament who had unseated the ultra-unionist Ian Paisley in 1979,
was shot dead in June 1980. On 16 January 1981, a republican, the former member of
the Westminster parliament, Bernadette Devlin McAlisky, and her husband were
wounded by gunmen in their home. Later UDA men were convicted of the Turnley
murder and attempted murders of the McAliskys. Three other nationalists were also
killed this way, suggesting that the UDA was behind the wave of killings. IRA supporters
believed that the UDA had to have enjoyed the cover of British army patrols to have
been able to penetrate the largely Catholic areas in which these murders took place.
The UDA is a northern Irish Protestant militia founded in September 1971, committed to
maintaining Protestant supremacy in the political and social life of northern Ireland, while
its ostensible purpose is to protect Protestant neighborhoods from IRA [#CR0000632]
attacks. Most of its numbers and resources, in fact, are devoted to defending Protestant
neighborhoods, but it is widely believed to support death squad activities involving
smaller, specialized units that often assume their own names and maintain their
independence from the UDA, such is believed to be the case with the Ulster Freedom
Fighters [#CR]. The relationship with the British Army is problematic, since from
September to October 1972 they had considered the British Army to be in league with
their Catholic enemies. Since then, it has maintained a truce with British forces and acts,
in effect, as an ally. This may explain why the UDA alone maintains its legal status of all
Northern Irish paramilitary groups. Proscription available under the Special Powers Act
of 1922 has not been sought because British security forces must rely on the UDA for
The UDA leader, Andy Tyrie, explained the UDA mission as follows: "We're a
counterterrorist organization. The only way we'll get peace here is to terrorize the
terrorists." The UDA finances itself partly through protection rackets, the same way the
Provisional IRA finances itself. During the pro-unionist Ulster Workers' Council general
strike in 1974, directed against a British-sponsored plan to share power in Ulster with
Catholics, the UDA openly joined ranks with proscribed death squads, and illegal
militias, to form an Ulster Army Council to enforce the general strike.
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