Belfast: Former UVF Leader Gusty Spence Dies Aged 78

25 Sep

Former Ulster Volunteer Force leader Gusty Spence has died in hospital aged 78.

Gusty Spence became a key figure in Progressive Unionist Party

Gusty Spence became a key figure in Progressive Unionist Party

Former Ulster Volunteer Force leader Gusty Spence has died aged 78.

Spence was given a life sentence after the UVF murdered 18-year-old Catholic Peter Ward and wounded two other people as they left a pub on Malvern Street in Belfast in 1966.

He served 18 years.

He became heavily involved in politics and was a key figure in the Progressive Unionist Party alongside figures like the late David Ervine.

On 3 May he read out the statement by the UVF announcing that it would keep its weapons but put them beyond the reach of ordinary members.

Sinn Féín MLA Gerry Kelly said many nationalists would remember gusty Spence “as central to the sectarianism that gave birth to the modern loyalist paramilitary”.

However, he said Spence had dedicated himself to peace and reconciliation for much of his later life.

“Gusty Spence played a key role within loyalism in bringing the UVF and Red Hand Commando into the peace process and announcing their ceasefires in 1994. This valuable contribution allowed the peace process to develop further”.

Keywords:  gusty spence, uvf, david ervine, pup

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