Third Force (Ireland)

The Third Force was a paramilitary movement established by unionist politicians in Northern Ireland in 1981.

The group was established by Ian Paisley, ostensibly as a complement to the security forces, although it bore many of the hallmarks of the earlier Ulster Protestant Volunteers It grew from the increasing pace of co-operation between the governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, as well as in response to the murder of Robert Bradford. The group largely disappeared with the emergence of Ulster Resistance.


  • Paul Arthur & Keith Jeffrey, Northern Ireland Since 1968, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996

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