Ulster loyalism


Ulster loyalism

Ulster loyalism is a militant unionist ideology held mostly by Protestants in Northern Ireland. Some individuals claim that Ulster loyalists are working-class unionists willing to use violence in order to achieve their aims. [Steve Bruce, "The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland", 1992] However, others, such as Garrett Fitzgerald, argue that loyalism is simply "loyalty to Ulster not to the Union with Britain and it is mis-described as unionism." [Fergal Cochrane, "Unionist Politics and the Politics of Unionism since the Anglo-Irish Agreement", 2001]

Unionists support the continuation of Northern Ireland's status as a constituent country of the United Kingdom and oppose any joining with the Republic of Ireland in a united Ireland. However, whilst some loyalist groups seek to maintain Northern Ireland's position within the UK they are not defined by this aim and some, such as the Ulster Defence Association, have openly supported the idea of Ulster independence. Unionists also believe in achieving their aims through purely constitutional means, but are willing to use violence to defend the constitutional process. However loyalists support the use of militant methods as the primary means to reject amalgamation with the Republic of Ireland. Consequently, anti-Unionists and anti-Loyalists frequently use the term "loyalist" to describe illegal paramilitary organisations.

Upon the Partition of Ireland in 1921, six of the nine counties in the province of Ulster were excluded the independent Irish Free State (later the Republic of Ireland). These counties, four out of the six having (at the time) Protestant majorities Fact|date=September 2008, remained a part of the United Kingdom. Two other Ulster counties also remained part of the UK, despite having narrow nationalist (pro-independence) majorities Fact|date=September 2008. Both unionist and nationalist communities have allowed or encouraged sectarianism among Protestants (associated with unionism) and Roman Catholics (associated with nationalism) to further political aims Fact|date=September 2008.

The difference of opinion between Northern Ireland's Nationalist Catholic population (which mostly supports leaving the UK in favour of uniting with the Republic of Ireland) Fact|date=September 2008 and its Protestant Unionist population (which mainly supports remaining as part of the United Kingdom) has led to a long-running bloody conflict known as "The Troubles". However, the majority of people who live in the region do not support paramilitaries of any ideology Fact|date=September 2008.

Political parties

*Progressive Unionist Party
*Ulster Democratic Party

Bigger parties like the Ulster Unionist or Democratic Unionist parties have actively sought to distance themselves from loyalist paramilitary activity. However, Ian Paisley and his Democratic Unionist Party have worked alongside loyalist paramilitary groups such as the UDA in the 1974 Ulster Workers' Council Strikes and the 1977 Loyalist Association of Workers strike [citation needed] .

Fraternities

*Orange Order
*Apprentice Boys of Derry
*Independent Orange Order

Paramilitary groups

*Ulster Volunteer Force
*Ulster Defence Association
*Loyalist Volunteer Force
*Ulster Protestant Volunteers
*Orange Volunteers
*Red Hand Commandos
*Red Branch Knights
*Ulster Resistance

Youth groups

*Ulster Young Militants
*Young Citizen Volunteers

Umbrella organisations

*Combined Loyalist Military Command
*Ulster Loyalist Central Co-ordinating Committee

Other loyalist organisations

*Loyalist Association of Workers
*Tara (Northern Ireland)
*Ulster Political Research Group
*Ulster Workers Council

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.ulsterloyalists.co.uk/ Loyalist, Unionist and Protestant Resources]
* [http://www.beyondconflict.net/site/default.asp Beyond Conflict] - A South-East Antrim organization linked with the Ulster Defence Association
* [http://www.pup-ni.org.uk/home/default.aspx Progressive Unionist Party] - Centre-Left and Social Democratic Loyalist party linked with the Ulster Volunteer Force.
* [http://www.englishloyalists.net English Loyalists]
* [http://www.scottishloyalists.co.uk Scottish Loyalists]
* [http://www.britishulsteralliance.co.uk/ British Ulster Alliance]
* [http://www.loyalistfm.net/new/ Loyalist FM]


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