Belfast Telegraph

Johnny Adair: Ulster Resistance weapons were 'godsend' to loyalists

Johnny Adair
Johnny Adair

Former UDA boss Johnny Adair has said that weapons provided to loyalist groups by the Ulster Resistance were a "godsend".

Adair, known as 'Mad Dog' made the comments to the BBC as part of their documentary series Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History.

In an episode to be aired on Tuesday, Adair said that the weapons provided to loyalist terror groups greatly boosted their arsenal.

The Ulster Resistance was formed in November 1986 in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

A launch event for the group in Belfast's Ulster Hall was chaired by current DUP MP Sammy Wilson and addressed by then leader and deputy leader Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson.

The DUP leadership later distanced themselves from the group as it became paramilitary in nature.

Assault rifles and rocket launches were brought from South Africa to Northern Ireland by the group in 1987.

Adair said that these weapons then found their way into the hands of the UDA and UFF.

Weapons from the shipment were used by loyalist paramilitaries in some of the most deadly attacks of the Troubles.

They were used in massacres at the Sean Graham bookmaker's shop on Belfast's Ormeau Road in February 1992, the Greysteel Massacre in October 1993 and the Loughinisland Massacre in June 1994.

Peter Robinson (second from left) and Noel Little (right) at an Ulster Resistance rally in 1986
Peter Robinson (second from left) and Noel Little (right) at an Ulster Resistance rally in 1986

In total the weapons have been connected to the deaths of at least 70 people.

“Our organisations did not have an assault rifle, and it wasn’t until these weapons came, this shipment came in, that the UDA, UFF, then took control of assault rifles," Adair told the BBC.

“With that armoury of weapons and stockpile of weapons came confidence to the men.

“Where they were no longer running into these areas with shotguns or 38 special hand-guns, they were now going in with assault rifles, deadly assault rifles.”

Adair claimed he was involved in working with army agent Brian Nelson to bring the weapons to Northern Ireland.

“I was part of it, worked on that intelligence and to date I have never been arrested for anything that I have worked with or under Brian Nelson. Not one thing,” the former loyalist prisoner said.

Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall

The BBC Documentary claims that Noel Little, father of DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly, was the chief arms smuggler on behalf of the Ulster Resistance.

He was arrested in connection with gun smuggling in Paris in 1989 and was handed a suspended sentence and fines after two years on remand.

Mr Little denied all claims made in the documentary.

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