Book review: UDR Declassified – A damning exposé of how a sectarian organisation was encouraged by the authorities

Micheál Smith’s meticulously researched book reveals just how much the British government knew about the UDR’s links with loyalist paramilitaries

Members of the UDR search a car at a checkpoint while on patrol in Co Down in February 1984. Picture: Getty

John Hume is rightly revered as a peacemaker who usually avoided speaking harsh words about his opponents. When it came to the Ulster Defence Regiment, however, he made an exception. “[It’s like] a group of Rangers supporters put in uniform,” the late SDLP leader once complained, “supplied with weapons and given the job of policing where Celtic supporters live.”

According to Micheál Smith’s expertly researched and coolly damning new exposé, Hume was pretty much on ...