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Documentary claims Paisley funded UVF bomb campaign

FORMER Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley was accused in a BBC documentary last night of supplying cash to loyalist paramilitaries to carry out a number of deadly bombings in the north of Ireland in 1969.

The seven-part series on the so-called Troubles period features allegations made by a former British army officer against Mr Paisley relating to the bomb attacks on water and electrical installations carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

In 1969, the UVF, along with the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, bombed a string of targets, including the Silent Valley reservoir in Co Down, an electricity pylon in Kilmore, Co Armagh, and the Annalong viaduct, which supplied most of Belfast’s water.

Responsibility for the blasts was attributed to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and civil-rights movement.

The attacks were part of a month-long campaign aimed at undermining public support for both groups and bringing down Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Prime Minister Terence O’Neill, who was considering granting concessions to them.

Mr Hancock claimed to have heard the Annalong viaduct explosion, suggesting it did “not have the footprint of the IRA.”

He said: “I was good friends with the district inspector down in Kilkeel. He showed me the evidence that they had of the involvement of money from Paisley into what was then called the UVF, where they got the explosives from, how it was carried out, who did it and why.”

Mr Paisley was a bitter opponent of Mr O’Neill and the incidents eventually led to the latter’s resignation at the end of April 1969.

He was replaced by fellow UUP politician James Chichester-Clark.

Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley Jnr dismissed the allegations as a calculated insult to his father’s memory.

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