BBC to air soldier's claims Rev Ian Paisley funded a UVF bomb at the height of the Troubles

Mail Online | 9/5/2019 | Ross Ibbetson For Mailonline
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A soldier's claim that the Reverend Ian Paisley funded an Ulster Volunteer Force bomb on a reservoir at the height of the Troubles, is to be aired by the BBC.

The new seven-part series is also set to screen archive footage of Martin McGuinness sitting in a car and showing off a gun to young children.

Spotlight - Troubles - History - Days - Northern

Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History, probes the earliest days of Northern Ireland's conflict using previously unseen footage, formerly classified documents and new testimony. It marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Troubles.

In the first instalment, David Hancock, a former solider, claims a police officer told him the Rev Paisley funded the 1969 bombing of the Silent Valley reservoir, Belfast's main water supply.

String - Bombings - Water - Electricity - Supplies

A string of bombings were carried out on water and electricity supplies by Loyalists between March and April of that year.

At the time the Rev Paisley was in prison for organising illegal counter-demonstrations.

Attacks - IRA - Loyalists

The attacks were initially blamed on the IRA before it emerged Loyalists were responsible.

Then Prime Minister Terence O'Neill was attempting to liberalise discriminatory practices and the attacks were seen as an effort to discredit Republicans.

Mr - O'Neill - Crisis

Mr O'Neill resigned following the resulting political crisis.

The programme also exhibits a formerly classified government document which reveals how the Rev Paisley's speeches and sermons were recorded in an effort to prosecute him, as well as police records from the time which drew links between him and the UVF.

Rev - Paisley - Link - Group - Life

Rev Paisley, who died in 2014, consistently and strongly denied any link with any paramilitary group during his life.

The Rev Ivan Foster, a colleague of Rev Paisley at that time, distanced the movement against Mr O'Neill from Loyalist violence, telling the programme while men from the UVF may have attended their protests, acts of violence were wrong.

Spotlight - Programme - Light

The Spotlight programme also shines new light on the...
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