The Northern Ireland Government, the Paisleyite Movement and Ulster Unionism in 1966

Margaret O'Callaghan, Catherine O'Donnell

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    Abstract

    This article presents original documentary material discovered at the Public Records Office, NorthernIreland, relating to the RUC’s position in June 1966 on what was referred to as the ‘Paisleyite Movement’. According to the documents that were sent by the RUC Inspector‐General to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the ‘Paisleyite Movement’ was an organisation made up of the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, the Ulster Protestant Volunteer Division, the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Ulster Defence Corps, the Ulster Protestant Action Defence Committee and the militant Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). We know that these documents were seen by the Prime Minister, Terence O’Neill, and the Minister of Home Affairs, Brian McConnell. These documents appear to have partly informed the cabinet decision to ban the UVF at the end of June 1966. The documents confirm the scale and significance of the threat presented by extremist Protestantism to the stability of the state in the eyes of the RUC and the government at that time and suggest that the starting date of ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland should be back‐dated to 1966.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)203-222
    Number of pages20
    JournalIrish Political Studies
    Volume21
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2006

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