Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 13:08 UK

Government moving on UVF's status

UVF mural
The UVF is being despecified

The government has said that it now recognises the ceasefire of the loyalist paramilitary grouping the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Secretary of State Shaun Woodward told the House of Commons the UVF, and the associated Red Hand Commando grouping, are to be despecified.

Last May, the UVF said it was assuming "a non-military civilianised role".

Dawn Purvis, leader of the PUP, which has links to the UVF, welcomed the move.

"This is recognition of the work carried out and progress made since the statement of intent of May last year," she said.

"This is further evidence of Northern Ireland's strides towards normality."

Mr Woodward said that he was specifing a dissident republican grouping based in Strabane calling itself Oglaigh na hEireann (Irish Republican Army).

They were blamed for the murder of Andrew Burns by the IMC, the body which monitors the paramilitary ceasefires.

Mr Burns' body was found with gun shot wounds near a church in Doneyloop in County Donegal.

Mr Woodward said they had "taken a careful look" at the UVF's position.


  • The Continuity Irish Republican Army
  • The Loyalist Volunteer Force
  • The Orange Volunteers
  • The Real Irish Republican Army
  • The Red Hand Defenders
  • "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," he said.

    In 2005 the then Secretary of State, Peter Hain, specified the UVF and RHC following a feud with the Loyalist Volunteer Force, which claimed four lives.

    The UVF was also blamed for orchestrating rioting which followed the re-routing of an Orange Order parade in Whiterock.

    There are no changes to the status of other specified organisations.

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    The history of the Ulster Volunteer Force

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    03 May 07 |  Northern Ireland

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