Posted By: May 28, 2022


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus


Smith, Michael. UDR DECLASSIFIED. Merrion Press.

Kildare, Ireland. (2022). Pages 2-3.

        To many people in the Protestant, unionist, or loyalist tradition, service in the UDR was a noble act … And yet in the experience of the Catholic community (and the UDR didn’t differentiate between nationalist and republican), an encounter with the UDR was frequently hostile, often brutal, and sometimes fatal.

 For many, it was simply a loyalist militia.

        In this book, we aim to set out the background to the regiment and the traditions from which it was born; we attempt to reflect the experience of those who served in the UDR and acknowledge their losses; we also aim to show the range of illegal, collusive and murderous acts of some of its number, and, as ever, attempt to understand this in the context of British colonial military practice.

        One of the assertions of this book is that London knew the UDR was bound to attract loyalist recruits but pressed ahead to form the regiment anyway, with one of its unspoken functions being to, at least partially, contain loyalist violence.  As a result, infiltration was widespread, but —far from containing loyalist violence—it led to the UDR becoming a training and arming facility for loyalism.

        For elements of the British establishment, the UDR was used as a surrogate ‘counter-gang’. Although unacknowledged in public, officers and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) knew UDR weapons were systematically stolen and used to murder Catholics.  Although the term ‘collusion’ has been derided by those sympathetic to the British narrative of the conflict in Ireland, the British were in fact well aware of what was going on and frequently referred to it internally as ‘collusion’ from the early 1970s.