Loyalist feud?

Brian Rowan looks at some of the internal politics after the expulsion of Johnny Adair from the UDA. David Gordon asks ‘what happens next?’ The Scotsman reports: “…a demand was made for east Belfast, south Belfast and south-east Antrim UDA brigadiers to quit their posts. The Red Hand Defenders – a grouping believed to be a cover for the LVF and Adair’s unit – called on three commanders to resign or face ‘military action’.” It appears that the UDA are …

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Irish travellers in the US

Interesting revelation of a subset of Irish emigrants. Thanks to Smoke Signals for the link.

Benefits of the Belfast agreement

On the subscription only Irish News site, Jude Collins publishes his list of 5 things he believes Unionism has gained from the Belfast Agreement: 1. Articles 2 and 3. Remember when we used to chafe at the Republic’s claim to the North in its constitution? It’s gone now. That’s nice. 2. The principle of consent. Remember when we used to rail at the way nationalists and republicans refused to accept that the majority of people in this state want to …

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Countryside alliance

Steven King rides a long and winding narrative here trying to explain just how complex a mix of interest the countryside lobby is in Northern Ireland. The truth is that this issue hasn’t much impacted the wider consciousness of people in NI, because the legal moves to outlaw foxhunting will not effect things there. But, as King argues, it may make it easier for such legislation to be extended to the North. For a wider argument on the subject try …

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Loyalists in crisis

It looks like the murky waters of Loyalist paramiltary organisations are beginning to move quickly. Fears are increasing of a new feud within loyalism, this time between the splinter organisation the LVF and the UDA. The expulsion of Johnny Adair, the leader of the West Belfast UDA, has led to: “A number of senior loyalists immediately left their homes for secret locations, believing that the move would inevitably lead to serious conflict on the streets of Belfast and elsewhere. The …

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Closure

The reconciliation business is not what it once was.

Comments starting to take off

Natalie Solent described reading McIntyre’s article as like falling “…into an alternative universe.” And in the comments field here, David Steven suggests that the debate in Northern Ireland does not seem to got stuck in a negative game of saving face. Newton Emerson has kindly reproduced his article on Ulster Scots the comments field here. When the re-design comes, one day soon, we hope to provide a more fitting home for such pieces on Letter to Slugger O’Toole. If you …

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What does British mean?

In the subscription based Irish News, Newton Emerson takes a swipe at some members of the Ulster Scots movement, but in the process comes up with a fresh definition of what his ‘Britishness’ means to him: “…I value my identity precisely because there’s no standard definition of what ‘British’ means. There’s a heritage and a history, but no obligation to regard any of it as positive. You note what your compatriots are doing, but you don’t have to like it. …

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Policing drama

Gerry Adams believes that the decision of the UUC at the weekend (see here) will encourage an increase in sectarian murders. Despite his party’s close ties with the Loyalist paramilitary organisation UVF, Billy McCaughey of the PUP insists that policing should be left to the PSNI. The release of the latest crime figures will not have bolstered the confidence of the same body: “Irwin Montgomery, of the Police Federation, blamed sectarian rioting and the terrorist threat. He said: ‘The amount …

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Applying principles

Dissident Republican Anthony McIntyre uses Chomsky to provide a lesson that should not be lost on every side of the conflict in Ulster: “If we propose some principle that is to be applied to antagonists, then we must agree – in fact, strenuously insist – that the principle apply to us as well.” McIntyre writes: “The unionists …are finding it all too easy to steal the moral high ground. It is cumbersome to argue against Trimble who manages to sound …

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Todhchaí nua?

Tá David Trimble i dtrioblóid. Ach ba mhaith leis go mbeadh Caitlicigh compordach i gComhairle Aontachtach Uladh. Agus i gcursaí teanga, “…tá rudaí athraithe sa chaoi is nach bhfuil blas Caitliceach ar na téacsleabhair níos mó, rud a gcuirim féin, mar Phrotastúnach, fáilte mhór roimhe”, dar le Ian Malcolm.

Nationalist government?

After Mark Durkan and Gerry Adams met yesterday, both appealed for the British government to hold the line, and not suspend the political institutions if unionist ministers resign. This introduces the interesting scenario that all major posts in government could be run, by default, by the remaining ministers, ie those held by the SDLP, Sinn Fein, and possibly even the DUP, who have, as ever refused to reveal their political hand in public. The parties remaining in post may even …

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Nationalist backroom

The repercussions of the UUC’s motion on Saturday, are beginning to hit through the Nationalist bloc. Gerry Adams and Mark Durkan are to hold talks “…aimed at reinforcing the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement.” One SDLP source said, “The Good Friday Agreement is not up for renegotiation. The policing reforms cannot be reversed.” It will be interesting to hear what the subject of those talks will be. It may be that the prospect of facing the ‘nuclear option’, ie …

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An odd aside

For those still vaguely aware of the outside world, the dossier against Iraq has just been published on the New Statesman site – apparently some of the UK government sites hosting it crashed earlier with all the extra traffic. They have also published (in actual fact, re-published) a companion ‘dossier’, with John Pilger leading the anti-US charge! Normal Slugger service will be resumed shortly.

Loyalist paramilitaries

The danger of another Loyalist fued taking off, raises its head again. Johnny Adair was in court cheering on Andre Shoukri, after the latter was remanded in custody on gun charges.

January deadline

Whatever the outcome, the newly imposed deadline has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. Mark Durkan is not happy, accusing Trimble of wearing a sandwich board for Jeffrey Donaldson. Martin McGuinness was also quick to put his own spin on the news: “What we are witnessing now is a full-frontal assault on the Agreement by the UUP and the DUP, and it is about denying equality to the people we represent. It is about totally destroying power sharing and …

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American in Andersonstown

Just picked this up from the archives at Samizdata, one of the most prolific and well organised weblogs on the net. It’s one man’s outsider view (from the inside) on the range of paramilitaries currently active in Northern Ireland. The style is brusque and American, and he finishes with something of a stylish flourish: “Some day there may be a vote here on which country we are to be a part of. I suspect by the time it happens the …

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And there's more

Ian Paisley, erstwhile leader of the DUP, calls for the dissolution of the current Assembly rather than to prolong the current crisis until the new year. Noel McAdam weighs up what it might mean to Trimble. And in the subscription only Irish News, Roy Garland suggests that things may not be as bad as some liberal Unionists currently believe: “Ulster Unionists have signalled they cannot absorb any more fudging and the ball is now with the republican movement. The British …

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Other Unionist voices

From Beowulf at Carisenda: “Keep picking fights you can’t win guys, keep reacting with your heart and not your head, keep up the in-fighting, the splits, the tantrums – I’m sure Gerry and the lads have a nice fat smile on their faces watching you slowly tear yourselves apart.” It has to be said that this shift to the right within the party has been touted almost since the beginning of the summer. The Letter picked up first indications in …

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Wider reaction

John Reid is typically sanguine, suggesting that all sides will need to full committment to turn around a history at least 80 years in the making. Gerry Adams condemned it as a Wreckers Charter; “…if the unionists refuse to be part of that process then the two governments must proceed anyway. Today’s victory for the no camp will not deter us and will not stop the process of change. That will only happen if we give up and we and …

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