Northern Ireland news

IRA killed leading loyalist Ray Smallwood to thwart UFF and UVF ceasefires, claims ex UDP representative

Raymond Smallwood was shot dead by the IRA in July 1994
John Manley Political Correspondent

The IRA killed a leading loyalist in the summer of 1994 to ensure the UDA and UVF didn’t call a ceasefire first, a former Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) representative has claimed.

David Adams, a one-time UDA member who was part of the UDP’s Good Friday Agreement talks team, told The Irish News that Ray Smallwood was shot dead by republicans as the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) was preparing unilaterally to call a halt to violence.

Read the full interview here: David Adams: War, peace and reflection

At the time of the former prisoner’s killing, just seven weeks before the IRA ceasefire, Smallwood was in regular contact with Clonard priests Gerry Reynolds and Alec Reid.

"The thinking was that loyalists were about to call a ceasefire before the IRA and that the reason for Raymond's murder was two-fold – to stop the ceasefire but also because Raymond had a high profile and was obviously very articulate and intelligent. It was to take out the thinker within loyalism," says Adams.

"The Provos didn't want the loyalists to call ceasefire before them because it would look like they were playing catch up."

He also argues that the killing was designed "to spark a reaction" but that loyalists held the line: "You don't do what people expect."
While there was no significant escalation in violence in the aftermath of the Smallwood's killing, the CLMC’s ceasefire was nonetheless "put on ice" until after the IRA brought its campaign to an end on August 31.

Northern Ireland news