Friday 23 March 2018

State papers - 1980: Taoiseach praised for action on IRA threat

Ed Carty

A top loyalist leader heaped praise on Charles Haughey for his stand against the Provisional IRA.

Andy Tyrie, Ulster Defence Association (UDA) chief, personally wrote to the Taoiseach in December 1980 to thank him for his efforts in saving the lives of "countless Ulstermen and women".

Mr Tyrie's letter, held in state papers from 1980, said Mr Haughey's efforts to prevent arms smuggling across the border helped ensure Loyalist paramilitaries would not target the Republic.

"I am sure you realise that by seeking out and preventing the incessant flow of weapons and explosives into Ulster, you are effectively ensuring that Loyalist organisations will not seek vengeance in the Republic," the UDA chief wrote.

He went on: "I have admired your determination and I note that your period in office is underlined by your attitude towards terrorism, and its defeat."

The loyalist told Mr Haughey he felt he had taken a more proactive role than any other Taoisigh to thwart paramilitary activity.

"Yours is a difficult job, and there are times when you feel that you stand alone, but you possess the strength of character typical of Ulster stock," he wrote.

Mr Haughey's mother and father, Sarah and Sean, were from Swatragh, Co Derry.

Irish Independent

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