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Johnny Adair and Billy Wright worked together to kill Catholics

Loyalist Johnny Adair pictured at a UDA/LVF mural on the Lower Shankill Road
Connla Young

Two loyalist commanders from rival UVF and UDA factions worked together to kill Catholics during the Troubles.

In his new book Aaron Edwards reveals that Billy Wright’s Mid Ulster UVF and former UFF Shankill Road commander, Johnny Adair, “forged a close working relationship”.

Both units were among the most active loyalist groupings during the 1990s and claimed the lives of dozens of Catholics.

However, at various times during the Troubles the rival paramilitary groups were locked in vicious feuds resulting in members of both being murdered.

In an interview with the author, former UDA chief Johnny Adair reveals that such was the close nature of the relationship his organisation even loaned the Mid Ulster UVF unit weapons.

The former UDA man said the help went both ways and that Wright told him ‘there’ll come a time when we might be able to help you, in terms of cars and assistance, or whatever, and visa versa’ he says.

“…And that’s what we done. We assisted each other. We had mutual respect for each other.”

 

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Adair also claimed that Wright had a network of sympathisers in areas outside his immediate control before he was expelled from the UVF in 1996.

Adair believes the UVF leadership appeared to “curtail” Wright’s unit and reveals that some loyalists celebrated his death after he was shot by the INLA in the H-Blocks in 1997.

Adair, who was serving a sentence himself in a different part of the prison, reveals that news of his killing was broken to him by UDA killer Michael Stone.

Billy Wright

He also claims that one UVF man from the Shankill Road area revelled in Wright’s death when new broke.

“Boys had told me he had been shouting ‘we got the bastard’.

“Imagine shouting that ‘we got the bastard.

“That’s what the UVF on the Shankill Road was shouting…..The enemies of Ulster had killed Billy.

“One of the best leaders they ever had.”

The close relationship between Adair’s ‘C Company’ and the LVF, which Wright formed after he was thrown out of the UVF in 1996, continued after his death.

Adair’s faction backed the LVF in a feud with the UVF which claimed several lives between 2000 and 2005.

Adair's unit even launched a gun attack on a bar frequented by UVF men on the Shankill Road in 2000 as tensions began to rise.

Loyalist Johnny Adair pictured at a UDA/LVF mural on the Lower Shankill Road

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