MI5 - Security Service

Loyalist Paramilitary Groups

Loyalist paramilitary groups emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as vigilante groups in Protestant areas of Northern Ireland. These groups developed into terrorist organisations opposed to a united Ireland. The main Loyalist groups are the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Ulster Freedom Fighters mural in Belfast

In April 2007, the Independent Monitoring Commission reported that there had been significant progress towards peace. The main Loyalist groups had moved to distance themselves from criminality, move away from paramilitarism and engage more positively in their communities.

By February 2010, all of the main Loyalist groups had decommissioned their weapons to the satisfaction of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).


Key points

  • Opposed to a united Ireland
  • Groups continue to engage in criminal activity and violent feuding

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