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After the Peace

Loyalist Paramilitaries in Post-Accord Northern Ireland

Carolyn Gallaher

Publication Year: 2007

The 1998 Belfast Agreement promised to release citizens of Northern Ireland from the grip of paramilitarism. However, almost a decade later, Loyalist paramilitaries were still on the battlefield. After the Peace examines the delayed business of Loyalist demilitarization and explains why it included more fits than starts in the decade since formal peace and how Loyalist paramilitary recalcitrance has affected everyday Loyalists.

Drawing on interviews with current and former Loyalist paramilitary men, community workers, and government officials, Carolyn Gallaher charts the trenchant divisions that emerged during the run-up to peace and thwart demilitarization today. After the Peace demonstrates that some Loyalist paramilitary men want to rebuild their communities and join the political process. They pledge a break with violence and the criminality that sustained their struggle. Others vow not to surrender and refuse to set aside their guns. These units operate under a Loyalist banner but increasingly resemble criminal fiefdoms. In the wake of this internecine power struggle, demilitarization has all but stalled.

Gallaher documents the battle for the heart of Loyalism in varied settings, from the attempt to define Ulster Scots as a language to deadly feuds between UVF, UDA, and LVF contingents. After the Peace brings the story of Loyalist paramilitaries up to date and sheds light on the residual violence that persists in the post-accord era.

Published by: Cornell University Press


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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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p. v-v

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pp. vii-xiii

This book is about the backwash of a conflict that has largely ended. It has been almost a decade since a peace agreement was signed in Northern Ireland and even longer since a joint 1994 cease-fire was announced. This is a significant duration of time—most conflicts have a high likelihood of reigniting within the first five years of peace. Northern Ireland has witnessed ...


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pp. xv-xvi

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1. Staying Put

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pp. 1-27

Paramilitaries respond to formal peace in different ways. Some issue prompt stand-down orders and implement them with efficiency. Others drag their feet, dismantling by fits and starts. Still others stay put, endorsing peace but refusing to stand down. In Northern Ireland a formal peace accord was signed in April 1998. Nine years later the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) finally stood down. Its ...

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2. The Loyalist Prison Experience

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pp. 28-52

During the Troubles, thousands of men and women from both communities went to prison for committing terrorist offenses. The Republican experience in prison has been well documented. The story of Bobby Sands and the hunger strikers, for example, is now firmly part of Republican lore. Sands’s grave in Belfast is a shrine to the Republican struggle, and his image ...

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3. Class Matters

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pp. 53-83

One of the most striking aspects of walking across Belfast’s sectarian divides is how structurally similar Protestant and Catholic working-class estates actually are. Both sides are dominated by terraced council houses operated by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Homes are usually two stories with small rear gardens that back up to those on parallel streets. Front gardens tend ...

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4. Fighting with History instead of Guns

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pp. 84-109

Although paramilitaries on both sides of Northern Ireland’s ethnoreligious divide agreed to put their arms down in 1998, commentators and scholars alike agree that the constitutional question remains unanswered and that the battle to answer it conclusively, once and for all, continues. It is merely the weapons that have changed. Of course some Loyalists and Republicans ...

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5. Loyalism and the Voluntary Sector

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pp. 110-128

For many people, peace agreements are about endings. Combatants put down their guns, the fighting stops, and things go back to the way they used to be. After a protracted conflict, however, things rarely return to the way they were. In Northern Ireland the city center was rebuilt, but with glitzy shops and high-end pubs instead of family businesses and low-cost ...

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6. Loyalist Feuds

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pp. 129-157

Two years after the signing of the Belfast Agreement, the British army returned to Belfast to bring order to its streets (S. Breen 2000; Reuters 2000).Its presence, however, was not precipitated by renewed violence between the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries. Rather, soldiers were brought in to patrol the Shankill Road after a week of internecine Loyalist feuding between ...

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7. Immigrants, Paramilitaries,and Turf

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pp. 158-188

Immigration to Ireland and Northern Ireland is a recent phenomenon. In 1845, on the eve of the potato famine, the population of the island stood at approximately eight million people. Five years later, it had declined by over a third, with one million people succumbing to starvation and disease and an-other two million emigrating, mostly to America (American Immigration Law ...

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8. What to Do with the Paramilitaries?

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pp. 189-220

In March 2005 I interviewed Mark Langhammer, then a borough-level councillor (Labour) for Newtownabbey, an area just north of Belfast. Until then, most of my interviews had been with Loyalist paramilitaries, exprisoners, and community workers. Many of the men I spoke with seemed genuinely committed to peace, and it is clear that several had put themselves ...

Reference List

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pp. 221-238


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pp. 239-248

E-ISBN-13: 9780801461583
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801445705

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1