Belfast is a city in the United Kingdom, the capital city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is second-largest on the island of Ireland, it had a population of 333,871 as of 2015. By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port, it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was a key industry. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city and it became the capital of Northern Ireland following the Partition of Ireland in 1922, its status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War of 1939–1945. Belfast suffered in the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world's most dangerous cities.
However, a survey conducted by a finance company and published in 2016 rated the city as one of the safest within the United Kingdom. Throughout the 21st century, the city has seen a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, has benefitted from substantial economic and commercial growth. Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as for the arts, higher education and law, is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. Belfast is still a major port, with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, it is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network listed Belfast as a Gamma global city in 2018; the name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.
The name would thus translate as " mouth of the sandbar" or " mouth of the ford". This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, its tributary the Farset; this area was the hub. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad. An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located; this interpretation was favoured by John O'Donovan. It seems clear, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing. In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is used. Although the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the city continues to be viewed as straddling County Antrim and County Down; the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age.
The Giant's Ring, a 5,000-year-old henge, is located near the city, the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen in the surrounding hills. Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. John de Courcy built a castle on what is now Castle Street in the city centre in the 12th century, but this was on a lesser scale and not as strategically important as Carrickfergus Castle to the north, built by de Courcy in 1177; the O'Neill clan had a presence in the area. In the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe O'Neill, built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn O'Neill of the Clannaboy O'Neills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, one remaining link being the Conn's Water river flowing through east Belfast. Belfast became a substantial settlement in the 17th century after being established as a town by Sir Arthur Chichester, it was settled by Protestant English and Scottish migrants at the time of the Plantation of Ulster.
In 1791, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast, after Henry Joy McCracken and other prominent Presbyterians from the city invited Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell to a meeting, after having read Tone's "Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland". Evidence of this period of Belfast's growth can still be seen in the oldest areas of the city, known as the Entries. Belfast blossomed as a commercial and industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and became Ireland's pre-eminent industrial city. Industries thrived, including linen, rope-making, heavy engineering and shipbuilding, at the end of the 19th century, Belfast overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland; the Harland and Wolff shipyards became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing up to 35,000 workers. In 1886 the city suffered intense riots over the issue of home rule. In 1920–22, Belfast became the capital of the new entity of Northern Ireland as the island of Ireland was partitioned.
The accompanying conflict cost up to 500 lives in Belfast, the bloodiest sectarian strife in the city until the Troubles of the late 1960s onwards. Belfas
Good Friday Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. Northern Ireland's present devolved system of government is based on the agreement; the agreement created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The agreement is made up of two inter-related documents, both agreed in Belfast on Good Friday, 10 April 1998: a multi-party agreement by most of Northern Ireland's political parties; the agreement set out a complex series of provisions relating to a number of areas including: The status and system of government of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. The relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Issues relating to sovereignty and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, demilitarisation and policing were central to the agreement.
The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, voters were asked in the 1998 Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum whether they supported the multi-party agreement. In the Republic of Ireland, voters were asked whether they would allow the state to sign the agreement and allow necessary constitutional changes to facilitate it; the people of both jurisdictions needed to approve the agreement. The British–Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999; the Democratic Unionist Party was the only major political group in Northern Ireland to oppose the Good Friday Agreement. The agreement was made between the British and Irish governments and eight political parties or groupings from Northern Ireland: the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party, the Progressive Unionist Party, the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition, the Ulster Democratic Party and Labour.
The agreement comprises two elements: the legal agreement between the two governments, signed by the leaders of the two governments. The former text has just four articles. Technically, this scheduled agreement can be distinguished as the Multi-Party Agreement, as opposed to the Belfast Agreement itself; the vague wording of some of the provisions, described as "constructive ambiguity", helped ensure acceptance of the agreement and served to postpone debate on some of the more contentious issues. Most notably these included paramilitary decommissioning, police reform and the normalisation of Northern Ireland; the agreement acknowledged: that the majority of the people of Northern Ireland wished to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Both of these views were acknowledged as being legitimate. For the first time, the Irish government accepted in a binding international agreement that Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom; the Irish Constitution was amended to implicitly recognise Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom's sovereign territory, conditional upon the consent for a united Ireland from majorities of the people in both jurisdictions on the island.
On the other hand, the language of the agreement reflects a switch in the United Kingdom's statutory emphasis from one for the union to one for a united Ireland. The agreement thus left the issue of future sovereignty over Northern Ireland open-ended; the agreement reached was that Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, would remain so until a majority of the people both of Northern Ireland and of the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise. Should that happen the British and Irish governments are under "a binding obligation" to implement that choice. Irrespective of Northern Ireland's constitutional status within the United Kingdom, or part of a united Ireland, the right of "the people of Northern Ireland" to "identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both" was recognised. By the words "people of Northern Ireland" the Agreement meant "all persons born in Northern Ireland and having, at the time of their birth, at least one parent, a British citizen, an Irish citizen or is otherwise entitled to reside in Northern Ireland without any restriction on their period of residence."The two governments agreed, irrespective of the position of Northern Ireland: the power of the sovereign government with jurisdiction there shall be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions and shall be founded on the principles of full respect for, equality of, political, economic and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity and aspirations of both communities.
As part of the agreement, the British parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution o
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du
William Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw
William Stephen Ian Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw known as Willie Whitelaw, was a British Conservative Party politician who served in a wide number of Cabinet positions, most notably as Home Secretary and de facto Deputy Prime Minister. He was Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1991. Whitelaw was born at "Monklands", on Thurlow Road in Nairn in northeast Scotland, he never knew his father, William Alexander Whitelaw, born 1892, a member of a Scottish family of the landed gentry. He died in 1919 after service in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the First World War, when his son was still a baby. Whitelaw was raised by his mother, Helen, a local councillor in Nairn, paternal grandfather, William Whitelaw, of Gartshore, Dunbartonshire, an Old Harrovian and alumnus of Trinity College, landowner, MP for Perth 1892–1895, chairman of the London and North-Eastern Railway Company, his great-aunt by marriage, was the niece of former Prime Minister and author Benjamin Disraeli.
Whitelaw was educated first at Wixenford School, before passing the entrance exam to Winchester College. From there he went up to Trinity College, where he won a blue for golf and joined the Officer Training Corps. By chance he was in a summer camp in 1939 on the outbreak of the Second World War and was granted a regular, not wartime, commission in the British Army, in the Scots Guards serving in the 6th Guards Tank Brigade, a separate unit from the Guards Armoured Division, he commanded Churchill tanks in Normandy during the Second World War and during Operation Bluecoat in late July 1944. His was the first Allied unit to encounter German Jagdpanther tank destroyers, being attacked by three out of the twelve Jagdpanthers which were in Normandy; the battalion's second-in-command was killed. He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at Caumont. After the end of the war in Europe, Whitelaw's unit was to have taken part in the invasion of Japan, but the Pacific War ended before this. Instead he was posted to Palestine, before leaving the army in 1946 to take care of the family estates of Gartshore and Woodhall in Lanarkshire, which he inherited on the death of his grandfather.
After early defeats as a candidate for the constituency of East Dunbartonshire in 1950 and 1951, he became Member of Parliament for Penrith and the Border at the 1955 general election, represented that constituency for 28 years. He held his first government posts under Harold Macmillan as a Lord of the Treasury between 1961 and 1962 and under Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour between 1962 and 1964. In 1964 Douglas-Home appointed him as Opposition Chief Whip, he was sworn of the Privy Council in January 1967. When the Conservatives returned to power in 1970 under Edward Heath, Whitelaw was made Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons, with a seat in the cabinet. Upon the imposition of direct rule in March 1972, he became the first Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, serving in that capacity until November 1973. During his time in Northern Ireland he introduced Special Category Status for paramilitary prisoners.
He attempted to negotiate with the Provisional Irish Republican Army, meeting its PIRA Chief of Staff Seán MacStiofáin in July 1972. The talks ended in an agreement to change from a seven-day truce to an open-ended truce; as a briefing for prime minister Heath noted, Whitelaw "found the experience of meeting and talking to Mr MacStíofáin unpleasant". MacStiofáin in his memoir complimented Whitelaw, saying he was the only Englishman to pronounce his name in Irish correctly. In 1973, Whitelaw left Northern Ireland—shortly before the Sunningdale Agreement was reached—to become Secretary of State for Employment, confronted the National Union of Mineworkers over its pay demands; this dispute was followed by the Conservative Party losing the February 1974 general election. In 1974, Whitelaw became a Companion of Honour. Soon after Harold Wilson's Labour Party returned to government, Heath appointed Whitelaw as Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of the Conservative Party. After a second defeat in the October 1974 general election, during which Whitelaw had accused Wilson of going "round and round the country stirring up apathy", Heath was forced to call a leadership election in 1975.
Whitelaw loyally refused to run against Heath. Whitelaw lost convincingly, against Thatcher in the second round; the vote polarised along right-left lines, with in addition the region and education of the MP having their effects. Whitelaw managed to maintain his position as Deputy Leader until the 1979 general election, when he was appointed Home Secretary, he was considered to be the de facto Deputy Prime Minister in Thatcher's new government. Thatcher admired Whitelaw and appointed him Home Secretary in her first Cabinet writing of him "Willie is a big man in character as well as physically, he wanted the success of the Government which from the first he accepted would be guided by my general philosophy. Once he had pledged his loyalty, he never withdrew it"; as Home Secretary, Whitelaw adopted a hard-line approach to law and or
Irish National Liberation Army
The Irish National Liberation Army is an Irish republican socialist paramilitary group formed on 10 December 1974, during "the Troubles". It seeks to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and create a socialist republic encompassing all of Ireland, it is the paramilitary wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. The INLA was founded by former members of the Official Irish Republican Army who opposed that group's ceasefire, it was known as the "People's Liberation Army" or "People's Republican Army". The INLA waged a paramilitary campaign against the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland, it was active to a lesser extent in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. High-profile attacks carried out by the INLA include the Droppin Well bombing, the 1994 Shankill Road killings and the assassinations of Airey Neave in 1979 and Billy Wright in 1997. However, it was smaller and less active than the main republican paramilitary group, the Provisional IRA, it was weakened by feuds and internal tensions.
Members of the group used the covernames People's Liberation Army, People's Republican Army and Catholic Reaction Force for attacks its volunteers carried out but the INLA didn't want to claim responsibility for. The INLA became a proscribed group in the United Kingdom on the 3 July 1979 under the 1974 Prevention of Terrorism Act. After a 24-year armed campaign, the INLA declared a ceasefire on 22 August 1998. In August 1999, it stated that "There is no political or moral argument to justify a resumption of the campaign". In October 2009, the INLA formally vowed to pursue its aims through peaceful political means and began decommissioning its weapons; the party supports a'No First Strike' policy, allowing people to see the perceived failure of the peace process for themselves without military actions. The INLA is a Proscribed Organisation in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000 and an illegal organisation in the Republic of Ireland; the INLA was founded on 8 December 1974 in the Spa Hotel in Lucan, Dublin by former members of the Official IRA.
The group's political wing, the IRSP was founded on the same day. The IRSP's foundation was made public but the INLA's was kept a secret until the group could operate effectively; the group was formed due to dissatisfaction with the Official IRA ceasefire in 1972 and the supposed refusal to implement the democratic will of the members. Shortly after it was founded, the INLA came under attack from their former comrades in the OIRA, who wanted to destroy the new grouping before it could get off the ground. On 20 February 1975, Hugh Ferguson, an INLA member and an Irish Republican Socialist Party branch chairperson, was the first person to be killed in the feud. One of the first military operations of the INLA was the shooting of OIRA leader Sean Garland in Dublin on 1 March. Although shot six times, he survived. After several more shootings a truce was arranged; the most prominent victim of the restarted feud was Billy McMillen, the commander of the OIRA in Belfast, shot by INLA member Gerard Steenson.
His murder was condemned by Costello. This was followed by several more assassinations on both sides, the most prominent victim being Seamus Costello, shot dead on the North Strand Road in Dublin on 5 October 1977. Costello's death was a severe blow to the INLA, as he was their most able political and military leader, it has recently been claimed by some in the Republican Socialist Movement that one of their members killed in 1975, Brendan McNamee, was killed by Provisional Irish Republican Army members. The Officials had denied involvement at the time of the killing and had instead blamed it on the Provisionals, who denied involvement. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the INLA developed into a modest organisation in Northern Ireland, operating from the Divis Flats in west Belfast, which, as a result, became colloquially known as "the planet of the Irps", they had a large presence in Derry and the surrounding area, all three of the INLA prisoners who died in the 1981 Irish hunger strike were from County Londonderry.
During this period, the INLA competed with the Provisional IRA for members, with both groups in conflict with the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The first action to bring the INLA to international notice was its assassination on 30 March 1979 of Airey Neave, the British Conservative Party's spokesman on Northern Ireland and one of Margaret Thatcher's closest political supporters; the INLA lost another of its founding leadership in 1980, when Ronnie Bunting, a Protestant nationalist, was assassinated at his home. Noel Little, another Protestant member of the INLA, was killed in the same incident. Another leading INLA member, Miriam Daly, was killed by loyalist assassins in the same year. Although no group claimed responsibility, the INLA claimed that the Special Air Service was involved in the killings of Bunting and Little. Offensive INLA actions at this time included the 1982 bombing of the Mount Gabriel radar station in County Cork, which the INLA believed was providing assistance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in violation of Irish neutrality, although this was disputed by the Irish government.
Their most bloody attack came on 6 December 1982 – the Ballykelly disco bombing of the Droppin' Well Bar in Ballykelly, County Londonderry, which catered to British military personnel, in which 11 soldiers on leave and 6 civilians were killed. Members of the INLA participated in the 1980 and 1981 hunger strikes for the recognition of the political status of
Billy Wright (loyalist)
Billy "King Rat" Wright was a prominent Ulster loyalist leader during the ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles. He joined the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1975. After spending several years in prison and becoming a born again Christian, Wright resumed his UVF activities and became commander of its Mid-Ulster Brigade in the early 1990s, taking over from Robin "the Jackal" Jackson. According to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Wright was involved in the sectarian killings of up to 20 Catholics, although he was never convicted for any, it has been alleged. Wright attracted considerable media attention during the Drumcree standoff, when he supported the Protestant Orange Order's desire to march its traditional route through the Catholic/Irish nationalist area of Portadown, his hometown. In 1994, the UVF and other paramilitary groups called ceasefires. However, in July 1996, Wright's unit broke the ceasefire and carried out a number of attacks, including a sectarian killing.
For this and his Portadown unit of the Mid-Ulster Brigade were stood down by the UVF leadership. He was threatened with execution if he did not leave Northern Ireland. Wright ignored the threats and, along with many of his followers, defiantly formed the breakaway Loyalist Volunteer Force, becoming its leader; the group carried out a string of killings of Catholic civilians. In March 1997 he was sent to the Maze Prison for having threatened the life of a woman. While imprisoned, Wright continued to direct the LVF's activities. In December that year, he was assassinated inside the prison by Irish National Liberation Army prisoners; the LVF carried out a wave of sectarian attacks in retaliation. There was speculation that the authorities colluded in his killing as he was a threat to the peace process. An inquiry found no evidence of this, but concluded there were serious failings by the prison authorities. Owing to his uncompromising stance as an upholder of Ulster loyalism and opposition to the Northern Ireland peace process, Wright is regarded as a cult hero and martyr by hardline loyalists.
His image adorned murals in loyalist housing estates and many of his devotees have tattoos bearing his likeness. His death was greeted with relief and no little satisfaction, from the Irish nationalist community. William Stephen "Billy" Wright, named after his grandfather, was born in Wolverhampton, England on 7 July 1960 to David Wright and Sarah McKinley, Ulster Protestants from Portadown, Northern Ireland, he was the only son of five children. Before Wright's birth, his parents had moved to England when they fell out with many of their neighbours after his grandfather had challenged tradition by running as an Independent Unionist candidate and defeated the local Official Unionist MP; the Wright family had a long tradition in Northern Ireland politics. His father found employment in the West Midlands industrial city of Wolverhampton. In 1964 the family returned to Northern Ireland and Wright soon came under the influence of his maternal uncle Cecil McKinley, a member of the Orange Order. About three years Wright's parents separated and his mother decided to leave her children behind when she transferred once more to England.
None of the Wright siblings would see their mother again. Wright and his four sisters were placed in foster care by the welfare authorities, he was raised separately from his sisters in a children's home in South Armagh. Wright was brought up in the Presbyterian religion of his mother and attended church twice on Sundays; the young Wright mixed with Catholics and played Gaelic football, indicating an amicable relationship with the local Catholic, nationalist population. Nor were his family extreme Ulster loyalists. Wright's father, while campaigning for an inquest into his son's death described loyalist killings as "abhorrent". Two of Wright's sisters married Catholic men, one having come from County Tipperary and whom Wright liked. Wright's sister Angela maintained that he got on well with Catholics, that he was only anti-Irish republican and anti-IRA. For a while David Wright cohabitated with a Catholic from Garvagh. Whilst attending Markethill High School, Wright took a part-time job as a farm labourer where he came into contact with a number of staunchly unionist and loyalist farmers who served with the Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve or the Ulster Defence Regiment.
The conflict known as the Troubles had been raging across Northern Ireland for about five years by this stage, many young men such as Wright were swept up in the maelstrom of violence as the Provisional IRA ramped up its bombing campaign and sectarian killings of Catholics by loyalists continued to escalate. During this time Wright's opinions moved towards loyalism and soon he got into trouble for writing the initials "UVF" on a local Catholic primary school wall; when he refused to clean off the vandalism, Wright was transferred from the area and sent to live with an aunt in Portadown. In the more loyalist environment of Portadown, nicknamed the "Orange Citadel", Wright was, along with other working-class Protestant teenagers in the area, targeted by the loyalist paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force as a potential recruit. On 31 July 1975, coincidentally the night following the Miami Showband killings, Wright was sworn in as a member of the Young Citizen Volunteers, the UVF's youth wing.
The ceremony was conducted by swearing on the Bible placed on a table beneath the Ul
A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or criticized the government responsible for their imprisonment. The term is used by groups challenging the legitimacy of the detention of a prisoner. Supporters of the term define a political prisoner as someone, imprisoned for his or her participation in political activity. If a political offense was not the official reason for the prisoner's detention, the term would imply that the detention was motivated by the prisoner's politics; some understand the term political prisoner narrowly, equating it with the term prisoner of conscience. Amnesty International campaigns for the release of prisoners of conscience, which include both political prisoners as well as those imprisoned for their religious or philosophical beliefs. To reduce controversy, as a matter of principle, the organization's policy applies only to prisoners who have not committed or advocated violence. Thus, there are political prisoners; the organisation defines the differences as follows: AI uses the term "political prisoner" broadly.
It does not use it, as some others do, to imply that all such prisoners have a special status or should be released. It uses the term only to define a category of prisoners for whom AI demands a prompt trial. In AI's usage, the term includes any prisoner whose case has a significant political element: whether the motivation of the prisoner's acts, the acts in themselves, or the motivation of the authorities. "Political" is used by AI to refer to aspects of human relations related to "politics": the mechanisms of society and civil order, the principles, organization, or conduct of government or public affairs, the relation of all these to questions of language, ethnic origin, sex or religion, status or influence. The category of political prisoners embraces the category of prisoners of conscience, the only prisoners who AI demands should be and unconditionally released, as well as people who resort to criminal violence for a political motive. In AI's use of the term, here are some examples of political prisoners: a person accused or convicted of an ordinary crime carried out for political motives, such as murder or robbery carried out to support the objectives of an opposition group.
Governments say they have no political prisoners, only prisoners held under the normal criminal law. AI however describes cases like the examples given above as "political" and uses the terms "political trial" and "political imprisonment" when referring to them, but by doing so AI does not oppose the imprisonment, except where it further maintains that the prisoner is a prisoner of conscience, or condemn the trial, except where it concludes that it was unfair. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has a much tighter definition: A person deprived of his or her personal liberty is to be regarded as a'political prisoner': In the parlance of many political movements that utilize armed resistance, guerrilla warfare, other forms of political violence, a political prisoner includes people who are imprisoned because they are awaiting trial for, or have been convicted of, actions which states they oppose describe as terrorism; these movements may consider the actions of political prisoners morally justified against some system of governance, may claim innocence, or have varying understandings of what types of violence are morally and ethically justified.
For instance, French anarchist groups call the former members of Action Directe held in France political prisoners. While the French government deemed Action Directe illegal, the group fashioned itself as an urban guerilla movement, claiming a legitimate armed struggle. In this sense, "political prisoner" can be used to describe any politically active prisoner, held in custody for a violent action which supporters deem ethically justified; some libertarians include all convicted for treason and some convicted of espionage in the category of political prisoners. There is still much controversy and debate around how to define this term and which cases to include or exclude. Political prisoners can be imprisoned with no legal veneer by extrajudicial processes; some political prisoners need not be imprisoned at all. Supporters of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in the 11th Panchen Lama controversy have called him a "political prisoner", despite the fact that he is not accused of a political offense, he is held under secluded house arrest.
Political prisoners are arrested and tried with a veneer of legality where false criminal charges, manufactured evidence, unfair trials are used to disguise the fact that an individual is a political prisoner. This is common in situations which may otherwise be decried nationally and internationally as a human rights violation or suppression of a political dissident. A political prisoner can be someone, denied bail unfairly, denied parole when it would reasonably have been given to a prisoner charged with a comparable crime, or special powers may be invoked by the judiciary. In this latter situation, whether an individual is regarded as a political prisoner may depend upon subjective political perspective or interpretation of the evidence. In the Soviet Union, dubious psychiatric diagnoses were sometimes used to confine political prisoners in the so-called "psikhushkas". In Nazi German