Ulster Volunteer Force
The Ulster Volunteer Force is an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group. It emerged in 1966, its first leader was a former British soldier. The group undertook an armed campaign of thirty years during the Troubles, it declared a ceasefire in 1994 and ended its campaign in 2007, although some of its members have continued to engage in violence and criminal activities. The group is classified as a terrorist organisation by the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, United States; the UVF's declared goals were to combat Irish republicanism – the Irish Republican Army – and to maintain Northern Ireland's status as part of the United Kingdom. It was responsible for more than 500 deaths; the vast majority of its victims were Irish Catholic civilians, who were killed at random. During the conflict, its deadliest attack in Northern Ireland was the 1971 McGurk's Bar bombing, which killed fifteen civilians; the group carried out attacks in the Republic of Ireland from 1969 onward. The biggest of these was the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, which killed 34 civilians, making it the deadliest terrorist attack of the conflict.
The no-warning car bombings had been carried out by units from the Mid-Ulster brigades. The Mid-Ulster Brigade was responsible for the 1975 Miami Showband killings, in which three members of the popular Irish cabaret band were shot dead at a bogus military checkpoint by gunmen in British Army uniforms. Two UVF men were accidentally blown up in this poorly planned attack; the UVF's last major attack was the 1994 Loughinisland massacre, in which its members shot dead six Catholic civilians in a rural pub. Until recent years, it was noted for a policy of limited, selective membership; the other main loyalist paramilitary group during the conflict was the Ulster Defence Association, which had a much larger membership. Since the ceasefire, the UVF has been involved in drug dealing and organised crime; some members have been found responsible for orchestrating a series of racist attacks. The UVF's stated goal was to combat Irish republicanism – the Provisional Irish Republican Army – and maintain Northern Ireland's status as part of the United Kingdom.
The vast majority of its victims were Irish Catholic civilians, who were killed at random. Whenever it claimed responsibility for its attacks, the UVF claimed that those targeted were IRA members or were giving help to the IRA. At other times, attacks on Catholic civilians were claimed as "retaliation" for IRA actions, since the IRA drew all of its support from the Catholic community; such retaliation was seen as an attempt to weaken the IRA's support. Many retaliatory attacks on Catholics were claimed using the covername "Protestant Action Force", which first appeared in autumn 1974, they always signed their statements with the fictitious name "Captain William Johnston". Like the Ulster Defence Association, the UVF's modus operandi involved assassinations, mass shootings and kidnappings, it used submachine guns, assault rifles, grenades, incendiary bombs, booby trap bombs and car bombs. Referring to its activity in the early and mid-1970s, journalist Ed Moloney described no-warning pub bombings as the UVF's "forte".
Members were trained in bomb-making and it developed home-made explosives. In the late summer and autumn of 1973, the UVF detonated more bombs than the UDA and IRA combined, by the time of the group's temporary ceasefire in late November it had been responsible for over 200 explosions that year. However, from 1977 bombs disappeared from the UVF's arsenal owing to a lack of explosives and bomb-makers, plus a conscious decision to abandon their use in favour of more contained methods; the UVF did not return to regular bombings until the early 1990s when it obtained a quantity of the mining explosive Powergel. Since 1964, there had been a growing civil rights campaign in Northern Ireland; the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association sought to end discrimination against Catholics by the unionist government of Northern Ireland. In March and April 1966, Irish republicans held parades throughout Ireland to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. On 8 March, a group of Irish Republican Army volunteers, acting on their own initiative, planted a bomb that destroyed Nelson's Pillar in Dublin.
At the time, the IRA was weak and not engaged in armed action, but some unionists feared that it was about to be revived and launch another campaign in Northern Ireland. In April, Ulster loyalists led by Ian Paisley, a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, founded the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, it set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers. The'Paisleyites' set out to stymie the civil rights movement and oust Terence O'Neill, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Although O'Neill was a unionist, they saw him as being too'soft' on the civil rights movement and too friendly with the Republic of Ireland. There was to be much overlap in membership between the UCDC/UPV and the UVF. On 7 May, loyalists petrol bombed a Catholic-owned pub in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Fire engulfed the house next door, she died of her injuries on 27 June. The group called itself the "Ulster Volunteer Force", after the Ulster Volunteers of the early 20th century, although in the words of a member of the previous organisation "the present para-military organisation... has no connection with the U.
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Albert Glenn Barr OBE was a politician from Derry, Northern Ireland, an advocate of Ulster nationalism. For a time during the 1970s he straddled both Unionism and Loyalism due to holding important positions in the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party and the Ulster Defence Association. A member of a general trade union, Barr first came to prominence at the start of the Troubles in 1969 when he was involved in an initiative to ensure Protestant workers did not join in strikes called by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, he went on to join the Loyalist Association of Workers in the early 1970s and from there became involved in the Ulster Defence Association. The loose associations of shop stewards that existed in Derry and the surrounding areas formed the basis of the UDA in this area. Indeed, it was Barr who served as Brigadier of the North-West Brigade of the UDA, which would be known as the Londonderry and North Antrim Brigade. Around this time Barr became involved in politics by joining the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party and was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, set up under the Sunningdale Agreement, in 1973.
As a result, Barr was the only UDA member to serve in either of the two bodies elected in Northern Ireland following the collapse of the Stormont Parliament. However, according to Ian S. Wood it had been Barr's profile as a trade unionist and community worker, rather than any UDA connections, that had won him the election, he soon became a leading figure in the opposition to Sunningdale agreement and led the Ulster Workers' Council strike that brought about the collapse of the new power-sharing government. Barr was chairman of the Ulster Loyalist Central Co-ordinating Committee, a group containing Ulster Workers' Council representatives and paramilitaries that directed the strike, he would comment that it would have been feasible to establish a provisional government for an independent Northern Ireland from this body. Always something of a maverick within Unionist politics, Barr served a three-month suspension from the United Ulster Unionist Council after endorsing the candidacy of Ken Gibson of the Volunteer Political Party for West Belfast in the October 1974 general election despite the Democratic Unionist Party's John McQuade representing the UUUC.
During his suspension Barr was part of a UDA delegation that made a fund-raising trip to Libya where they met with Muammar Gaddafi. Barr claimed when he returned that Gaddafi, who at the time was funding the Provisional IRA, had expressed a firm interest in providing money for an independent Northern Ireland; the trip however, on which Barr was accompanied by Tommy Lyttle, Andy Robinson and Harry Chicken, was condemned by unionist politicians because of the purportedly left-wing nature of the Gaddafi regime whilst the same reason was used a basis by Charles Harding Smith to launch a loyalist feud against UDA leader Andy Tyrie, whose idea the trip had been. In the course of this feud, Harding Smith placed Barr under a death threat, although nothing came of this as the pro-Tyrie forces dispatched the challenge of Harding Smith; when the VPUP split after leader William Craig suggested in the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention that he would consider a power-sharing arrangement with the Social Democratic and Labour Party Barr was one of the few leading figures to remain loyal to Craig rather than decamping to Ernest Baird's United Ulster Unionist Party.
When the UDA intimated that it did not back Craig's position either Barr tendered his resignation from the paramilitary group. Barr, who had exchanged angry words with Ian Paisley on a few occasions when both men were central to the 1974 strike, publicly distanced himself from the attempted strike organised by Paisley's United Unionist Action Council in 1977. Along with David Trimble he became deputy leader of the Vanguard and held this position until the party dissolution in 1978. He, did follow Craig in joining the Ulster Unionist Party and instead returned to his UDA roots. Barr had been invited back into the UDA after the failure of the second strike, with a feeling within the movement that he had been proven right with his opposition to the failed initiative and so would be an asset politically to the movement. Following the collapse of Vanguard Barr returned to a leading position in the UDA, becoming involved in the New Ulster Political Research Group. Whilst there, Barr took a leading role in the production of Beyond the Religious Divide, a document which sought to set out a framework for a move towards eventual independence for Northern Ireland.
Barr became disillusioned with what he saw as the callousness of unionist politicians towards their electorate, the blind loyalty of that electorate. He commented: "They could have sent a donkey with a Union Jack tied to its tail up the Shankill Road, we would have voted for it." Barr was chosen to break the self-imposed media blackout adopted by the NUPRG in late 1978 when he gave an interview to the Irish political magazine Magill during which he put forward the case for independence. The UDA, failed to recommend the proposals to its members and, as a result, Barr drifted away from the NUPRG, leaving politics altogether in 1981 to return to community work in Derry. Barr had a somewhat fractious relationship with the NUPRG's chairman John McMichael and following Barr's retirement McMichael changed the group, abandoning Barr's pet project of establishing a cross-community Northern Ireland Negotiated Independence Association, instead set up the Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party. Barr set up a scheme for disadvantaged young people by which they would receive low-wage employment and training un
Lisburn is a city in Northern Ireland. It is 8 mi southwest of Belfast city centre, on the River Lagan, which forms the boundary between County Antrim and County Down. Lisburn is part of the Belfast Metropolitan Area, it had a population of 71,465 people in the 2011 Census. A borough, Lisburn was granted city status in 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden jubilee celebrations, it is the third-largest city in Northern Ireland. Lisburn is one of the constituent cities that make up the Dublin-Belfast corridor region which has a population of just under 3 million; the town was known as Lisnagarvy after the townland in which it formed. This is derived from Irish Lios na gCearrbhach, meaning'ringfort of the gamesters/gamblers'; the origin of the town's current name is uncertain. The modern spelling Lisburn first appears in a January 1662 entry in church records. After February 1662, the name Lisnagarvy is no longer found in the records. One theory is that it comes from the Irish lios and the Scots burn.
Another theory is that -burn refers to the burning of the town during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, but this is deemed unlikely. In his book Lisburn Cathedral and Its Past Rectors, Reverend WP Carmody writes "This seems to be most improbable. There is evidence that the name existed at the time of the rebellion. In the depositions concerning the rebellion, an English soldier stated on 9 June 1653 that the rebels entered the town of Lisnagarvy at "a place called Louzy Barne". Carmody believes that, in the town's early days, there were two co-existing ringforts: Lisnagarvy to the north and Lisburn to the south, he suggests that both names come from Irish and concludes: "Lisburn, being shorter and more pronounced by the English settlers, became the familiar name and Lisnagarvey dropped out". The original name is still used in the titles of sports teams. Lisburn's original site was a fort located north of modern-day Wallace Park. In 1609 James I granted Sir Fulke Conway, a Welshman of Norman descent, the lands of Killultagh in southwest County Antrim.
During the 1620s the streets of Lisburn were laid out just as they are today: Market Square, Bridge Street, Castle Street and Bow Street. Conway brought over many Welsh settlers during the Ulster Plantation. In 1628, Sir Edward Conway, brother to the now deceased Sir Fulke, obtained a charter from King Charles I granting the right to hold a weekly market; this is still held in the town every Tuesday. The Manor House was never rebuilt. Lisburn is known as the birthplace of Ireland's linen industry, established in 1698 by Louis Crommelin and other Huguenots. An exhibition about the Irish linen industry is now housed in the Irish Linen Centre, which can be found in the old Market House in Market Square. In 1920, disturbances related to the ongoing Irish War of Independence saw all of Lisburn's Catholic businesses burned out and many of the town's Catholic population forced to flee; the town was one of the first to recruit special constables, who went on to become part of Northern Ireland's Ulster Special Constabulary.
Between 1954 and 1992 Lisburn contained the operational headquarters of No 31 Belfast Group Royal Observer Corps who operated from a protected nuclear bunker on Knox Road within Thiepval Barracks. Converted from a 1940s Anti-aircraft Operations Room, the bunker would support over one hundred ROC volunteers and a ten-man United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation warning team responsible for the four-minute warning in the event of a nuclear strike on the UK; the ROC would have detected radioactive fallout from the nuclear bursts and warned the public of approaching fallout. The two organisations were disbanded in 1992 at the end of the Cold War. In 2007 a commemorative plaque was mounted on the wall of the nuclear bunker which still stands, in recognition of the service of ROC volunteers in Northern Ireland; the north and south divide in Lisburn can be seen either side of the railway line that goes through the centre of the city. North Lisburn is home to many of the residential neighbourhoods, contains the notable landmarks of the Theipval Barracks, the Laurelhill Sportszone.
Lisburn is the administrative centre of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area, which includes Mazetown, Moira, Glenavy and Drumbo. In elections for the Westminster Parliament the city falls into the Lagan Valley constituency but into West Belfast; the headquarters of the British Army in Northern Ireland at Thiepval Barracks and the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are located in the city. The councillors elected in the 2014 election for the city are: Education Lisburn is notable for its large number of churches, with 132 churches listed in the Lisburn City Council area. One of two cathedrals in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Connor is in Lisburn, Christ Church Cathedral. Lisburn railway station was opened on 12 August 1839; the railway remains a popular means of transport between Lisburn and Belfast, with the express trains taking 10–15 minutes to reach Belfast's Great Victoria Street. The train links the city directly with Newry, Lurgan and Bangor; the station has services to Dubli
Royal Ulster Constabulary
The Royal Ulster Constabulary was the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2001. Following the awarding of the George Cross in 2000, its formal title became the Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC, it was founded on 1 June 1922 as a successor to the Royal Irish Constabulary. At its peak the force had around 8,500 officers with a further 4,500 who were members of the RUC Reserve. During the Troubles, 319 members of the RUC were killed and 9,000 injured in paramilitary assassinations or attacks by the Provisional IRA, which made the RUC, by 1983, the most dangerous police force in the world in which to serve. In the same period, the RUC killed 55 people; the RUC was superseded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2001. The former police force was renamed and reformed, as is provided for by the final version of the Police Act 2000; the RUC has been accused by republicans and Irish nationalists of one-sided policing and discrimination, as well as collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. Conversely, it was praised as one of the most professional policing operations in the world by British security forces.
The allegations regarding collusion prompted several inquiries, the most recent of, published by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan. The report identified police, CID and Special Branch collusion with loyalist terrorists under 31 separate headings, in her report on the murder of Raymond McCord and other matters, but no member of the RUC has been charged or convicted of any criminal acts as a result of these inquiries. Ombudsman Dame Nuala O'Loan stated in her conclusions that there was no reason to believe the findings of the investigation were isolated incidents. Under section 60 of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, Northern Ireland was placed under the jurisdiction of the Royal Irish Constabulary. On 31 January 1921, Richard Dawson Bates, the first Minister of Home Affairs for Northern Ireland, appointed a committee of inquiry on police organisation in Northern Ireland, it was asked to advise on any alterations to the existing police necessary for the formation of a new force. An interim report was published on 28 March 1922, the first official report of the new Parliament of Northern Ireland, it was subsequently accepted by the Northern Ireland Government.
On 29 April 1922, King George V granted to the force the name Royal Ulster Constabulary. In May, the Parliament of Northern Ireland passed the Constabulary Act 1922 and the RUC came into existence on 1 June; the headquarters of the force was established at Waring Street, in Belfast. The uniform remained the same as that of the RIC - a dark green, as opposed to the dark blue worn by the other British police forces and the Garda Síochána. A new badge of the Red Hand of Ulster on a St George's Cross surrounded by a chain was designed but proved unpopular and was never uniformly adopted; the harp and crown insignia of the Order of St Patrick, as worn by the RIC, was adopted. From the beginning it had a dual role, unique among British police forces, of providing a normal law enforcement police service while enforcing the new Northern Ireland entity in the face of considerable opposition, both armed and unarmed. To this end, its members were armed; the RUC was limited by statute to a 3,000-strong force.
A third of positions within the force were reserved for Roman Catholics, a reflection of the denominational proportions of the population of Northern Ireland at that time. The first two thousand places were filled and those reserved for Catholics were filled by ex-RIC men fleeing north. Due to reluctance by the political establishment to employ too many Catholics, the force abandoned this policy; as a result, representation of Catholics in the RUC never exceeded 20%. In addition, many Roman Catholics who joined the force during the troubles were targeted for murder or ostracised by their own community. By the 1960s, representation of Catholics in the RUC had fallen to 12%; the RUC were supported by the Ulster Special Constabulary, a volunteer body of part-time auxiliary police established before the Northern Ireland government was set up, given uniforms and training. The RUC's senior officer, the Inspector General, was appointed by the Governor of Northern Ireland and was responsible to the Minister of Home Affairs in the Northern Ireland government for the maintenance of law and order.
The polarised political climate in Northern Ireland resulted in violence from both sides of the political and religious divide. The lawlessness that affected Northern Ireland in the period of the early 1920s, the problems it caused for the police, are indicated in a police report drawn up by District Inspector R. R. Spears in February 1923. Referring to the situation in Belfast after July 1921 he stated:For twelve months after that, the city was in a state of turmoil; the IRA was responsible for an enormous number of murders, bombings and incendiary fires. The work of the police against them was, however hampered by the fact that the rough element on the Protestant side entered into the disturbances, met murder with murder and adopted in many respects the tactics of the rebel gunmen. In the endeavour to cope with the warring factions the police efforts were nullified, they were quite unable to rely on the restraint of one party. About 90 police officers were killed between 1922 in what would become Northern Ireland.
Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party
The Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party, informally known as Ulster Vanguard, was a unionist political party which existed in Northern Ireland between 1972 and 1978. Led by William Craig, the party emerged from a split in the Ulster Unionist Party and was affiliated with several loyalist paramilitary groups; the presence of features such as an honour guard and a common salute led opponents to accuse it of being fascist. The party was set up in opposition to power sharing with Irish nationalist parties, it opposed the Sunningdale Agreement and was involved in extra-parliamentary activity against the agreement. However, in 1975, during discussions on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland in the constitutional convention, William Craig suggested the possibility of voluntary power sharing with the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party. In consequence the party split, with dissenters forming the United Ulster Unionist Party. Thereafter Vanguard declined and following poor results in the 1977 local government elections, Craig merged the remainder of Vanguard into the UUP in February 1978.
It had its roots in the Vanguard or Ulster Vanguard wing of the Ulster Unionist Party who were opposed to the policies of the party's leader, last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner. The Ulster Vanguard movement was a political pressure group within the UUP, it was formed on 9 February 1972 and was led by William Craig with its deputy leaders Rev Martin Smyth and the former Stormont MP for Carrick, Captain Austin Ardill. At its first meeting in Lisburn, on 13 February 1972, Craig made the first of a number of bellicose pronouncements, declaring, "God help those who get in our way for we mean business."After the suspension of the Stormont Parliament, Faulkner moved towards a policy of power-sharing with nationalist and non-sectarian politicians under the Sunningdale Agreement. In opposition to this many in the Ulster Unionists broke away and founded a separate Vanguard Party, with William Craig as the leader. Vanguard is considered to have been a right-wing party. In its earliest days it adopted the style associated with falangist parties with an honour guard, a common salute and a habit of wearing sashes.
This led to it being characterised as Mosleyite or neo-Nazi with the Stormont unionist MP William McConnell claiming that Vanguard rallies involved "a certain Hitlerian-type figure... walking up and down the lines, inspecting his so-called storm-troopers." Craig however denied that the party was either paramilitary. Ulster Vanguard was intended to provide an umbrella organisation for various loyalist groups, it had close links with, strong support from loyalist paramilitary groups. Vanguard had its own paramilitary grouping called the Vanguard Service Corps, whose main function seemed to be to provide escorts for Vanguard speakers attending rallies. Vanguard criticised the imposition of direct rule and in its booklet'Ulster – A Nation', published in April 1972, it pledged "resistance to an undemocratic and un-British regime" and suggested the possibility of a Federal British Isles. At the Darlington Conference in September 1972, held to discuss various constitutional options for Northern Ireland, they proposed the restoration of the Northern Ireland Parliament as a single-chamber assembly with a committee system to ensure greater participation by all parties.
Internal security responsibilities would be restored. However, there would be a Bill of rights to safeguard the rights of minorities, it demanded the "extermination" of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and a reversal of the reforms introduced by Brian Faulkner and his predecessor. In a booklet published in late 1972 entitled'Community of the British Isles', it flirted with the idea of full independence for Northern Ireland, albeit within a structure which would include Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. In late 1973 it rejected the idea of compulsory power sharing with Irish Nationalists and refused invitations to take part in the conferences which led to the Sunningdale Agreement. In their 1974 Westminster manifesto, they called for the more mainstream Unionist option of either devolved government with full security responsibilities or full integration into the UK. However, there were occasions when it did not follow the same course as other right-wing or unionist parties. For example, in the 1975 referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the-then European Economic Community, it campaigned for the United Kingdom to remain a member whilst the other Unionist parties campaigned for withdrawal.
Vanguard was supportive of extra-parliamentary activity in the form of direct action to achieve its goals. On 26 January 1972, Craig announced plans to hold large rallies in major centres in Northern Ireland; the culmination was a large rally on 18 March 1972 in Belfast's Ormeau Park, attended by up to 60,000 people, at which Craig said, "We must build up the dossiers on the men and women who are a menace to this country, because one day and gentlemen, if the politicians fail, it will be our duty to liquidate the enemy."Following the suspension of Stormont and the imposition of direct rule in March 1972, Vanguard organised a general strike which lasted from 27 to 29 March. It caused businesses to close and halted public transport. About 190,000 people participated and Vanguard members barricaded and took effective control of the town of Portadown. 100,000 unionists converged on the drive leading to Stormont, where Craig addressed the crowds, but deferred to the outgoing Prime Minister Brian Faulkner, who managed to disperse the crowds.
On 3 June 1972, VUPP organised a march in Derry against the creation of no-go areas in nati
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, facilitate the reunification of Ireland and bring about an independent republic encompassing all of Ireland. It was the biggest and most active republican paramilitary group during the Troubles, it saw itself as the successor to the original IRA and called itself the Irish Republican Army, or Óglaigh na hÉireann in Irish, was broadly referred to as such by others. The IRA was designated an unlawful terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom and an unlawful organisation in the Republic of Ireland; the Provisional IRA emerged following a split in the republican movement. It was so-called to mirror the 1916 Provisional Government of the Irish Republic, to designate it as temporary pending reorganisation of the movement. Although this happened in 1970, the name "Provisional" stuck with them; the Troubles had begun shortly before when a Catholic, nonviolent civil rights campaign was met with violence from both Ulster loyalists and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, culminating in the August 1969 riots and deployment of British troops.
The IRA focused on defence of Catholic areas, but it began an offensive campaign in 1971. The IRA's primary goal was to force the United Kingdom to negotiate a withdrawal from Northern Ireland, it used guerrilla tactics against the British RUC in both rural and urban areas. It carried out a bombing campaign in Northern Ireland and England against what it saw as political and economic targets; the IRA called a final ceasefire in July 1997, after its political wing Sinn Féin was re-admitted into the Northern Ireland peace talks. It supported the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and in 2005 it disarmed under international supervision. An internal British Army document examining its 37 years of deployment in Northern Ireland, describes the IRA as "a professional, dedicated skilled and resilient force", while loyalist paramilitaries and other republican groups are described as "little more than a collection of gangsters". American media described the IRA as "activists" and "guerillas", while the British press dubbed them "terrorists".
Several splinter groups have been formed as a result of splits within the IRA, including the Continuity IRA which emerged from a split in 1986 but did not become active until the Provisional IRA ceasefire of 1994, the Real IRA after the final 1997 ceasefire, both of which are still active in the low-level dissident Irish republican campaign. The IRA's initial strategy was to use guerrilla tactics to cause the collapse of the government of Northern Ireland and to inflict enough casualties on British forces that the British government would be forced by public opinion in Britain to withdraw from the region; this policy involved recruitment of volunteers, increasing after the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident in which the British armed forces killed unarmed protesters, launching attacks against British military and economic targets. The campaign was supported by arms and funding from some Irish American groups; the IRA agreed to a ceasefire in February 1975, which lasted nearly a year before the IRA concluded that the British were drawing them away from military action without offering any guarantees in relation to the IRA's goals, hopes of a quick victory receded.
As a result, the IRA launched a new strategy known as "the Long War". This saw them conduct a war of attrition against the British and increased emphasis on political activity, via the political party Sinn Féin; the success of the 1981 Irish hunger strike in mobilising support and winning elections led to the Armalite and ballot box strategy, with more time and resources devoted to political activity. The abortive attempt at an escalation of the military part of that strategy led republican leaders to look for a political compromise to end the conflict, with a broadening dissociation of Sinn Féin from the IRA. Following negotiations with the Social Democratic and Labour Party and secret talks with representatives of both the Irish and British governments, the IRA called a ceasefire in 1994 on the understanding that Sinn Féin would be included in political negotiations for a settlement; when the British government, dependent on Ulster Unionist Party votes at Westminster demanded the disarmament of the IRA before it allowed Sinn Féin into multiparty talks, the IRA called off its ceasefire in February 1996.
The British demand was dropped after the May 1997 general election in the UK. The IRA ceasefire was reinstated in July 1997 and Sinn Féin was admitted into all-party talks, which produced the Good Friday Agreement of 1998; the IRA's armed campaign in Northern Ireland but in England and mainland Europe, caused the deaths of 1,800 people. The dead included around 1,100 members of the British security forces, about 640 civilians; the IRA itself lost 275–300 members and an estimated 10,000 imprisoned at various times over the 30-year period. On 28 July 2005, the IRA Army Council announced an end to its armed campaign, stating that it would work to achieve its aims using "purely political and democratic programmes through peaceful means", shortly afterwards completed decommissioning. In September 2008, the nineteenth report of the Independent Monitoring Commission stated that the IRA was "committed to the political path" and no longer represented "a threat to peace or to democratic politics", that th
Unionism in Ireland
Unionism in Ireland is a political ideology that favours the continuation of some form of political union between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. Since the partition of Ireland, unionism in Ireland has focused on maintaining and preserving the place of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. In this context, a distinction may be made between the unionism in the province of Ulster and unionism elsewhere in Ireland. Today in Northern Ireland, unionist ideology is expressed in a number of ways: voting for political candidates who espouse unionism, participation in unionist culture, preferences for particular newspapers or sports teams. Irish nationalism is opposed to the ideology of unionism. Most unionists come from Protestant backgrounds. Exceptions to these generalisations exist: there are Protestant nationalists and there are Catholic unionists; the political relationship between England and Ireland dates from the 12th century with the establishment of the Lordship of Ireland. After four centuries of the Lordship, the declaration of the independence of the Church of England from papal supremacy and the rejection of the authority of the Holy See required the creation of a new basis to legitimise the continued rule of the English monarch in Ireland.
In 1542, the Crown of Ireland Act was passed by both the Irish Parliaments. The Act established a sovereign Kingdom of Ireland with Henry VIII as King of Ireland. Both parliaments passed the Acts of Union 1800 by which a new state was created - the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, twenty-six counties of Ireland gained autonomy from the U. K. as the Irish Free State. The Republic of Ireland left the Commonwealth of Nations; the remaining six counties of the island of Ireland constituted the territory of Northern Ireland. In 1927, the realm, consisting of combined territories of Northern Ireland and Great Britain, was renamed the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Today, unionism is exclusively an issue for Northern Ireland, it is concerned with relationship between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Irish unionism is centred on an identification with Protestantism in the sense of Britishness, although not to the exclusion of a sense of Irishness or of an affinity to Northern Ireland specifically.
Unionism emerged as a unified force in opposition to William Ewart Gladstone's Home Rule Bill of 1886. Irish nationalists believed in separation from Great Britain, whether through repeal of the 1800 Act of Union, "home rule", or complete independence. Unionists believed in maintaining and deepening the relationship between the various nations of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, they expressed pride in symbols of Britishness. A key symbol for unionists is the Union Flag. Unionist areas of Northern Ireland display this and other symbols to show the loyalty and sense of identity of the community. Unionism is known for its allegiance to the person of the British monarch and today. Most unionists in Ireland have been Protestants and most nationalists have been Catholics, this remains the case. However, a significant number of Protestants have adhered to the nationalist cause, with Catholics and unionism; these phenomena continue to exist in Northern Ireland. Both unionism and nationalism have had anti-sectarian elements.
While nationalism has had a number of Protestant leaders, unionism was invariably always led by Protestant leaders and politicians. Prior to a decades-long ban, Catholics had been allowed to be members of the UUP as as the 1920s, including Denis Henry, a member of the UUP from its foundation in 1905 and a UUP MP for South Londonderry. Catholics were once more permitted to join the UUP in the 1960s but their continued dearth among the leadership, meant the UUP were still vulnerable to accusations of sectarianism. Only one Catholic, G. B. Newe, served in the Government of Northern Ireland. In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture in 1998, UUP leader David Trimble suggested that Northern Ireland had been a "cold house" for Catholics in the past. People espousing unionist beliefs are sometimes referred to as loyalists; the two words are sometimes used interchangeably, but the latter is more associated with hardline forms of unionism. In some cases it has been associated with individual or groups who support or engage in political violence.
Most unionists do not describe themselves as loyalists. In Irish, the terms aontachtóir and dílseoir are used. A similar distinction exists in relation to Irish nationalists. Mainstream nationalists, such as the supporters of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and the main parties in the Republic of Ireland, are referred to by that term; the more militant strand of nationalism, which includes groups such as Sinn Féin and 32 County Sovereignty Movement, is known as republicanism. In the Republic of Ireland, the republican tradition has moved into the mainstream. Today the republican party, Fianna Fáil, has little in common with militant republicans other than certain ideological and historical perspectives. In Irish, the terms poblachtánach and náisiúnach are used. Unionism has tra