Main points from Northern Ireland paramilitary groups report

The seven-page assessment was based on information from the MI5, PSNI and An Garda Síochána

A paramilitary mural is seen on a wall in East Belfast in Northern Ireland this week.  Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

A paramilitary mural is seen on a wall in East Belfast in Northern Ireland this week. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters


A report into the current status of paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, commissioned by the Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers , has said all of the main organisations remain in existence.

The seven-page report was based on information supplied by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and MI5 and, it is understood, An Garda Síochána.

It was compiled by British Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile, retired senior Northern Ireland civil servant Rosalie Flanagan and lawyer Stephen Shaw.

The report said that all of the paramilitary groups operating during the Troubles remain features of life in Northern Ireland.

However, it concluded that the most serious current terrorist threat is from dissident republicans.

Here are the report’s main points on each of the groups:

Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA):

The report says the PIRA was responsible for 1,771 murders between 1969-1998. It also states that:

-The structures of PIRA remain in existence in a much reduced form. This includes senior leadership, the Provisional Army Council (PAC), and some departments with specific responsibilities.

-The assessment by the PSNI chief constable George Hamilton that some IRA members were involved in the murder of Belfast republican Kevin McGuigan remains accurate.

-The group is not actively recruiting and is not involved with terrorist attacks.

- It continues to have some weapons, although the PIRA has not conducted the organised procurement of new weapons since the last Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report in 2011.

- Members have been directed to support Sinn Féin, including activities such as electioneering and leafleting.

-PAC oversees both PIRA and Sinn Féin with an overreaching strategy.

-Individual members remain involved in criminal activity such as large scale smuggling, isolated incidents of violence including murders.

- At lower levels, activity takes place without the knowledge of leadership.

- Limited indications of dissent that have been addressed by leadership.

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando (RHC):

The report states the UVF was responsible for the first three murders of the Troubles in 1966. The organisation is closely linked with the RHC, who were responsible for 544 further murders between 1966-1999.

- The structures of the UVF remain in existence and there are some indications of recruitment.

- The group continues to have access to some weapons.

- A small number of members have taken roles in loyalist politics with the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).

- However, a larger number, including some senior figures, are extensively involved in organised crime including drug dealing, extortion and smuggling.

- Members are involved in conducting paramilitary-style assaults on those they accuse of anti-social behaviour.

- Individual members of the UVF have continued to engage in violent protests and, in some cases, orchestrate them.

- Limited control over activities of its members.

- In some cases UVF members are heavily involved in violence and crime.

Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF):

The report states the UDA was responsible for 408 murders between 1970-1999. It was a legal organisation for much of this time and conducted attacks under the name of UFF.

-The structures of the UDA remain in existence but have become fragmented. - The UFF, previously a front for UDA, no longer exists.

-There are indications of recruitment and the UDA continues to have access to some weapons.

-A very small number of members have taken active roles to highlight loyalist issues through the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG).

-Other members have been resistant to change and stayed active in criminality and violence.

-Individual members and some senior figures are involved in organised crime including drug dealing, robbery, extortion, and the distribution of counterfeit and contraband goods.

-In recent years, there has been an increase in paramilitary-style assaults. A murder investigation is ongoing into a death in north Antrim.

-Individual members have continued to be involved in street disorder or violent protest. In some cases, members are heavily involved in violence and crime.

South East Antrim UDA (SEA UDA):

The group split from the mainstream UDA in 2006. During the period of the Troubles, this group was one of the largest and most active within the UDA.

- It remains a separate entity.

- Its members engage in the same type of criminal and violent activity of the UDA.

- Individual members are believed to have involved in serious disorder in the Carrickfergus area.

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF):

This group formed after a split in the UVF in 1996. It was responsible for 12 murders in 1996.

- It exists only as a criminal group in Antrim and mid-Ulster.

Irish National Liberation Army (INLA):

The INLA was responsible for 126 murders during the Troubles.

- The structures remain in existences but there is little indication of a centralised control from leadership.

- Signs the group are trying to recruit new members and it continues to have access to some weapons.

- Members continue to be heavily involved in criminal activities including extortion, drug deal, distribution of stolen goods and fraud.

To see the full report click here.