Orange Volunteers


Orange Volunteers
Orange Volunteers
Participant in The Troubles
Orange Volunteers logo.png
Orange Volunteers logo.
The motto translates as "Fortune favours the bold"
Active July 1998 – present
Ideology Ulster loyalism,
Protestant fundamentalism,
Anti-Catholicism
Leaders Clifford Peeples (until 2001)
Area of
operations
Northern Ireland
Strength unknown
Opponents Irish republicans, Irish nationalists,
Irish Catholics

The Orange Volunteers (OV) or Orange Volunteer Force (OVF)[1] is an Ulster loyalist and Protestant fundamentalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland.

Contents

Origins

The OV emerged during the 1998 Drumcree conflict when the Royal Ulster Constabulary and British Army prevented members of the Portadown Orange Order and their supporters from returning to the town centre down the Garvaghy road. However there is evidence to suggest that they had been actively recruiting and training members since as early as 1985.[2] The group is believed to be made up of dissident loyalists who disapprove of the Northern Ireland peace process and also of the more militant members of the Orange Order,[2] including former members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Association.[3] David Ervine, at the time a leading member of the Progressive Unionist Party, described the group as little more than a gang of Protestant fundamentalists and drug-dealers.[4]

Activities

In 1998 and 1999, the Orange Volunteers were led by Clifford Peeples, a Protestant pastor from Belfast. One of the group's first actions was a synchronized attack on 11 Catholic churches. Peeples defended the attack on the grounds that the churches were "bastions of the Antichrist".[5]

On 27 November 1998, eight masked OV members brandishing guns and grenades staged a "show of strength" for a local journalist. The gunmen began the meeting with a Bible reading and ended it with prayers. They produced a "covenant" that said: "We are defenders of the reformed faith. Our members are practising Protestant worshippers".[6] They went on to state: "We are prepared to defend our people and if it comes to the crunch we will assassinate the enemies of Ulster. Ordinary Catholics have nothing to fear from us. But the true enemies will be targeted, and that's a lot wider than just Sinn Féin and the IRA". They vowed to target IRA prisoners released as part of the Belfast Agreement and claimed responsibility for a string of attacks on nationalist-owned businesses a month beforehand.[7]

Timeline

1998

  • 31 Oct 1998: The OV claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a Catholic-owned pub on Colinglen Road, Belfast.[8]
  • 17 Dec 1998: The OV claimed responsibility for a blast bomb attack on a pub on Ballyganniff Road near Crumlin, County Antrim. It said it was an attempt to kill a senior IRA member.[9][10]
  • 17 Dec 1998: The OV claimed responsibility for throwing a grenade and firing shots at the home of a known republican in Castledawson, County Londonderry.[11]
  • Dec 1998: The OV claimed responsibility for a gun and bomb attack on the home of a Catholic civilian in Knockcloghrim, County Londonderry.[12]

1999

  • 19 Jan 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a pipe bomb attack on a house in Loughinisland, County Down. The man who lived there was wounded. The OV claimed that he was a "PIRA commander in South Down".[11][4][13]
  • 06 Jan 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a booby-trap bomb attack on builders working on a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club in Magherafelt, County Londonderry. A Catholic builder was injured.[12]
  • 08 Feb 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on a Catholic-owned pub near Toome, County Antrim.[4]
  • 09 Feb 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for an attack on a Catholic-owned pub in Castledawson, County Londonderry. It also claimed responsibility for planting a pipe bomb outside a pub in Crumlin.[4]
  • 01 Mar 1999: A bomb was found on the windowsill of a Catholic-owned house in Coalisland, County Tyrone. It is believed the OV were responsible.[14]
  • 03 Mar 1999: The United Kingdom designated the OV, along with the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), as terrorist organizations.[15]
  • 23 Mar 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a booby-trap bomb attack at a scrapyard on Station Road, Castlewellan, County Down. One man was injured.[4][13]
  • 24 Mar 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on the Derryhirk Inn near Aghagallon, County Antrim.[4][16]
  • 26 Mar 1999: The OV were blamed for planting a pipe bomb outside the home of a Catholic family in Randalstown, County Antrim.[16]
  • 10 Apr 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a pipe bomb attack on a pub near Templepatrick, County Antrim. One man was injured.[4]
  • 25 Apr 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on a house in the Legoneil area of Belfast.[4]
  • 28 Apr 1999: The OV claimed responsibility for a pipe bomb attack on the Ramble Inn pub in County Antrim. Several cars were damaged.[4]
  • Autumn 1999: In a series of police raids aimed at dissident loyalists, eight arrests were made while weapons and ammunition were found during a search of Stoneyford Orange Hall in County Antrim. Police also found military files containing the personal details of over 300 republicans from south Armagh and Belfast.[citation needed]

2000

  • Jun 2000: The OV threatened to kill GAA officials in the run-up to the Ulster Gaelic football championships.[17]
  • 29 Aug 2000: The OV claimed responsibility for burning-down Brennan's Bar in west Belfast.[18]
  • 28 Sep 2000: The OV declared that it had ceased all "military activity".[17]

2001

  • 06 Dec 2001: The United States designated the OV and Red Hand Defenders (RHD) as "terrorist organizations".[19]
  • 27 Dec 2001: The OV declared that it would be ceasing "military operations" after 31 December 2001. It is understood the group decided to go on ceasefire after a plea by a senior clergyman.[20]

2002

  • 02 Aug 2002: Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey, ­the new Lord Mayor of Belfast, was sent a bullet in the post. The death threat has been attributed to the OV. It arrived at City Hall in Belfast only hours before Maskey was to take part in a rally against sectarianism.[21]

2003

  • September 2003: The OV were believed to have been responsible for a number of attacks on Catholic-owned houses and the Catholic church in Stoneyford.[22]

2008

  • 26 Sep 2008: The OV were believed to have been behind an arson arrack on St Johns GAA club near Castlewellan, County Down. It is believed that the attack was revenge for attacks on Orange halls in the area.[23][24][25][26]
  • 14 Nov 2008: The OV claimed responsibility for an arson attack on Edendork GAA hall in County Tyrone. It claimed that it was revenge for attacks on Orange halls.[27]
  • Nov 2008: Sinn Féin claimed that the OV was responsible for planting a pipe bomb near the home of a Sinn Féin councillor in Cookstown, County Tyrone.[28]
  • 02 Dec 2008: Sinn Féin minister Conor Murphy claimed to have been told by the Police Service of Northern Ireland of a recent attempt on his life by the OV in the Newry area.[29]

2009

  • 9 Mar 2009: The OV claimed responsibility for planting a pipe bomb at Sinn Féin's office on Burn Road in Cookstown, County Tyrone. It claimed that the attack was revenge for the Massereene Barracks shooting.[30]
  • 10 Jul 2009: The OV threatened further retaliation for attacks on Orange halls.[31]
  • 18 Aug 2009: After more attacks on Orange halls,[32] the OV claimed responsibility for attacks on Catholic and nationalist owned businesses in Garvagh, Rasharkin, Dunloy and Ballymoney.[33]
  • 26 Aug 2009: The OV claimed responsibility for an attack on a house on Smith Street, Moneymore, County Londonderry. It claimed the attack as retaliation for "republican attacks on Protestant property and churches" in the area.[citation needed]

2010

  • Jan 2010: Sinn Féin MLAs Gerry Adams, Alex Maskey, Gerry Kelly, Francie Molloy and Caitríona Ruane received death threats from the OV.[34][35]
  • 24 Mar 2010: Sinn Féin councillor Cara McShane revealed that she had been sent a death threat from "a man with a very strong English accent" who said he represented the OV.[36]
  • 22 July 2010: Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly revealed that he had been sent another death threat from the OV.[37]

2011

  • May 2011: Sinn Féin claimed a member of its party Mary McArdle received a death threat from the OV after she was appointed to the role of special adviser to Carál Ní Chuilín, the then Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Ireland Executive.[38]

Police crackdown

In a series of police raids aimed at dissident loyalists in Autumn 1999, eight arrests were made, weapons, pipe bombs and ammunition were recovered and a search of Stoneyford Orange Hall in County Antrim uncovered military files containing the personal details of over 300 republicans from South Armagh and Belfast.[39] Peeples and another loyalist were arrested by the RUC after their car was stopped on the outskirts of Dungannon and two hand grenades and a pipe bomb were discovered. In 2001 he was jailed for ten years for possession of the weapons.[40] He was released in 2004 and became the minister of a Pentecostal church on the Shankill Road in Belfast.[41] Four other members of the group were convicted of a range of terrorist offences, including possession of an automatic rifle, in December 2000.[42]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Loyalist paramilitaries admit to Toomebridge attack". RTÉ News. 9 February 1999. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b Northern Ireland - The Troubles by Charles Messenger (ISBN 0-86124-236-X), p. 141.
  3. ^ "Orange Volunteers". CAIN Web Service (Conflict Archive on the Internet). http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/organ/oorgan.htm#ov. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch99.htm
  5. ^ Bruce, Steve. Religion and violence: the case of Paisley and Ulster evangelicals.
  6. ^ "Bible-quoting terror group threatens death". Irish Independent. 28 November 1998. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/biblequoting-terror-group-threatens-death-428311.html. 
  7. ^ "New loyalist group threatens peace". BBC News. 27 November 1998. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/events/northern_ireland/latest_news/223209.stm. 
  8. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Gun-toting+loyalists+'will+attack'+freed+republicans.-a060710666
  9. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch98.htm
  10. ^ http://www.rte.ie/news/1998/1217/blast.html?view=print
  11. ^ a b The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry Report (23 May 2011), p.319
  12. ^ a b http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/31764
  13. ^ a b "Loyalist dissidents claim blast". BBC News. 23 March 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/301708.stm. 
  14. ^ Loyalist Attacks from 1 January 1999 - 30 April 1999. Pat Finucane Centre
  15. ^ "Loyalist paramilitary groups banned". BBC News. 4 March 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/events/northern_ireland/latest_news/290043.stm. 
  16. ^ a b http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/32143
  17. ^ a b Sectarian attacks: September 2000. Pat Finucane Centre
  18. ^ Peter Heathwood Collection of television programs: 2000. Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN).
  19. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch01.htm
  20. ^ Sectarian attacks: December 2001. Pat Finucane Centre
  21. ^ Sectarian attacks: August 2002. Pat Finucane Centre
  22. ^ "Family may leave the North after second sectarian attack". An Phoblacht. 2 October 2003.
  23. ^ http://www.downgaa.net/downgaa/general/news/2008/september/sept26th1.htm
  24. ^ http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/35560
  25. ^ http://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2008/0926/st_johns.html
  26. ^ "Campbell condemns GAA fire attack". BBC News. 26 September 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7637304.stm. 
  27. ^ "Loyalists torch GAA club ‘in revenge for Orange hall fires’". Belfast Telegraph. 10 November 2008. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/loyalists-torch-gaa-club-lsquoin-revenge-for-orange-hall-firesrsquo-14049935.html. 
  28. ^ "Loyalists ‘targeted’ Sinn Féin". Irish News. 20 November 2008. http://www.irishnews.com/articles/540/5860/2008/11/20/603415_364109661226Loyalists.html. 
  29. ^ "Minister told of loyalist threat". BBC News. 2 December 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7760975.stm. 
  30. ^ "Orange Volunteers claim Burn Road pipe bomb responsibility". Mid Ulster Mail. 11 March 2009. http://www.midulstermail.co.uk/news/39Orange-Volunteers-claim-Burn-Road.5058825.jp. 
  31. ^ "Orange Volunteers' threat condemned". Newsletter. 10 July 2009. http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Orange-Volunteers39-threat-condemned.5447457.jp. 
  32. ^ "Orange Hall attack third in month". BBC News. 19 August 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8210435.stm. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  33. ^ "Call for Orange Volunteers to end attacks". Newsletter. 18 August 2009. http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Call-for-Orange-volunteers-to.5562566.jp. 
  34. ^ . http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/uk-ireland/death-threat-to-sinn-feins-maskey-14634545.html. 
  35. ^ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0110/breaking28.html
  36. ^ http://www.ballymoneytimes.co.uk/news/Moyle-SF-Chair-receives-39death.6177518.jp
  37. ^ . http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/uk-ireland/loyalist-death-threat-to-mla-kelly-14886107.html. 
  38. ^ McAdam, Noel (27 May 2011). "Sinn Fein: death threats won’t force a U-turn over killer’s job". Belfast Teletraph. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/sinn-fein-death-threats-wonrsquot-force-a-uturn-over-killerrsquos-job-16004873.html. 
  39. ^ "Sinn Féin collusion claim". BBC News. 4 November 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/504900.stm. 
  40. ^ "Self-styled loyalist pastor jailed". BBC News. 8 March 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1209673.stm. 
  41. ^ "Church row splits congregation". BBC News. 7 June 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4606519.stm. 
  42. ^ "Students jailed on 'terrorism' charges". BBC News. 21 December 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1082068.stm. 

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