“committed the organisation to assuming ‘a non-military civilianised role’..”

Following the recent 18th IMC report and the attack on a policeman near Castlederg, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, has told the House of Commons that the government is de-specifying the UVF and Red Hand Commandos and specifying Óglaigh na hEireann. The NIO statement points back to a UVF statement made in May last year, ahead of that paramilitary/political meeting, and despite the concerns of the IICD about what ‘beyond reach’ actually meant. Adds BBC report

Shaun Woodward said: “Under legislation I am obliged to review the status of all specified and other paramilitary organisations and I have today laid an order before Parliament seeking approval to despecify the UVF and RHC.

“Their statement of last May committed the organisation to assuming ‘a non-military civilianised role’. Government undertook to review the position at that time and we have now taken a careful look at the organisation’s position.

“In the light of this and in acknowledgement of their commitment and additional factors, I have therefore concluded that there are sufficient grounds to de-specify the UVF/RHC.

“Based upon my review, informed by the recent assessment from the IMC of ONH, it is my intention to specify this organisation.”

And the notes to the statement

Note to editors

Following a review of specified and paramilitary organisation in line with obligations under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 the government has determined to de-specify the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commandos (RHC), as well as specifying Óglaigh na hEireann (ONH)

The order to despecify the UVF/RHC and specify ONH will be made under the terms of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. The order will be debated in both houses.

There are no changes to the status of other specified organisations. These organisations are as follows:

•The Continuity Irish Republican Army

•The Loyalist Volunteer Force

•The Orange Volunteers

•The Real Irish Republican Army

•The Red Hand Defenders

, , , ,

  • Jer

    The UVF and Red hand commandos are being stood down then. Despecifiying is a fancy word for demob instructions. Well down Woodward.

  • Big Jobbies McArtlan

    Whilst it is consistent with the governments cavalier manner in dealing with ‘organisations’, the idea that despecification could precede Verifiable decommissioning is stunning.

    Although, given the use of those decommissioned guns at a recent high profile and bizarre funeral, you do wonder at the reliability of current verification methods in any case.

    It is a vital Christian, and Unionist, principle that all violent political organisations are condemned in history, legislation and society. The above is another worrying sign that we (as in all the people of Northern Ireland) are the beneficiaries of a most unusual peace. Perhaps the application of British Labour Party methods of pacification, now that it has been applied to an opposite and hostile party, will be understood more readily as obnoxious and dangerous by the PSF automatons who were previously (so) delighted by its apparent partiality. (That they were, in the majority, prepared to concede their most vital and blood drenched principles). No one would suggest that that apparent partiality has been negated by the above, it does illustrate the difficulty of obtaining credible and productive policy when one has, and wishes to advance, such a disposition and is legally bound to parity of esteem. I fear the superficiality, tendency for improvisation and ‘moral form’ of the labour party should be a worry to all Ulstermen.

  • Steve

    Gee the english government pandering to their favourite pet terrorists. Why is this news exactly

  • gareth mccord

    not one bullet or gun handed over?
    still drug dealing and racketeering!
    still targeting raymond mccord for murder!
    still families in exile not allowed home!
    still informers being protected and paid by the state!
    maybe my family should go out this evening and walk around mount vermin and new mossley and monkstown and the shankill to prove to the idiots who believe the u.v.f. are dilluted??

  • RepublicanStones

    Red Hand….LMAO, these colonist militia idiots make me laugh, its akin to the likes of the Stern Gang being called the Cresent Commandos.

  • Rory

    The loyalist groups that have been declassified have demonstrated, both by their statements of future intent and by refraining from murderous paramilitarism since those statements, that despecification is appropriate.

    The dissident republican group which arrogantly styles itself as Óglaigh na hEireann (ONH) has demonstrated murderous intent that demands that it be specified which no doubt will please its tiny membership and inflate their sense of grandiosity.

    If there are any just arguments for the despecification of any of those named groups which remain on the specified list then, please, let us hear them.

  • Steve


    No one is aguing that the ONH shouldnt be specified just that as they have done nothing but issue a statement the UVF should still be specified

    Would a simple statement from P Oneil suffice for the IRA to be taken off the list? Didnt think so

  • gareth mccord

    Rory as i said idiots like yourself who think the u.v.f. are not active or not a threat or have gone away? Wake up or why dont you walk with my family and then say you agree with the u.v.f. being watered down?

  • Gregory

    Óglaigh na hEireann (ONH)

    Should be OnhE perhaps,

    The Irish Defence Forces, Óglaigh na h-EireannThe Irish Defence Forces consist of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). The Permanent Defence Force includes the Army, …
    http://www.military.ie/ – 13k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this

    Specify away.