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The Ulster Army Council (or UAC) of Northern Ireland was set up in 1973 as an umbrella group by the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force to co-ordinate joint paramilitary operations during the Ulster Workers' Council Strike.[1] Andy Tyrie was the head of the group – and was also the then commander of the Ulster Defence Association.[1]

The following groups along with the UDA and UVF were members of the Ulster Army Council: the Orange Volunteers, Down Orange Welfare, Ulster Special Constabulary Association, Ulster Volunteer Service Corps and Red Hand Commandos.[1] According to Don Anderson the Ulster Service Corps, a group based in County Fermanagh and south Tyrone that was distinct from the similarly named Ulster Volunteer Service Corps, was admitted to the group in early 1974.[2] However most other sources contend the Ulster Service Corps did not actually appear until 1976 or 1977.[3][4][5][6]

The main aim of the group was to set up a Loyalist army of around 20,000 men to take control of Northern Ireland if necessary, to prevent any attempt of the re-unification of Ireland, in which the group planned to seize control of Northern Ireland and declare a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI).[1] Its main role at the start of the strike was to mobilise a large vigilante street presence in order to intimidate those workers uncertain about joining the strike, a tactic Tyrie described as essential in order that the strike would succeed.[7] According to journalist Don Anderson, its role became much less important once the strike had been going for a few days as by that stage the majority of the Protestant workforce were behind the initiative voluntarily.[8]

The group was replaced by the Ulster Loyalist Central Co-ordinating Committee (ULCCC) after the 1974 strike.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Abstracts on Organisations - 'U'
  2. Don Anderson, 14 May Days: The Inside Story of the Loyalist Strike of 1974, Dublin: Gill & MacMillan, 1994, p. 20
  3. Henry Patterson, Eric P. Kaufmann, Unionism and Orangeism in Northern Ireland Since 1945: The Decline of the Loyal Family, Manchester University Press, 2007, p. 185
  4. W.D. Flackes & Sydney Elliott, Northern Ireland A Political Directory 1968-1993, The Blackstaff Press, 1994, p. 336
  5. Eric P. Kaufmann, The Orange Order: A Contemporary Northern Irish History, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 105
  6. Ian S. Wood, Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, p. 64
  7. Anderson, 14 May Days, p. 31
  8. Anderson, 14 May Days, pp. 33–34

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