Irish and Loyalist

In my first post in this series – looking at what it is to be Irish (as an adjoint to my blog ‘The New Irishman’) – I sought to show that Ian Paisley was 100% Irish. Ian Paisley’s Irishness was stated unequivocally by the man himself; and third party observers have testified to his quintessential Irishness. In my second post I sought to show that the protestant in Ireland has historically, and in Northern Ireland presently, been considered as illegitimate and as an inauthentic outsider – “imperialistic …

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Thoughts on the death of Gusty Spence

The day after Gusty Spence died the Irish News had the story on the front page. The News Letter instead led with the story of an eighteen year old deeply religious maths student from Kilkeel who was studying at Queens and who was tragically killed in a road traffic accident. In many ways the News Letter’s position would be typical of the views of Northern Ireland’s unionist community and on this subject it picked the mood pretty accurately. Firstly lest …

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Massaging the past for the convenience of the politics of the present…

Mark Devenport neatly removes the problem of Martin McGuinness’ past as an IRA commander one step. Instead he looks at the record of Gusty Spence, who’s activities in the early sixties almost certainly radicalised the Catholic youth of the time, helping to lay the tinder for the mass killing of the early 1970s: I talked to the acting PUP leader Hugh Smyth on “Inside Politics” and found him keen to pay tribute to Gusty Spence’s track record as a peacemaker, …

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Gusty Spence (1933-2011)

Gusty Spence died in hospital this weekend aged 78. He served in the British army for five years and was stationed in Cyprus. He was approached to join the UVF in 1965, and soon became its leader in the Shankill. Under his watch, terror raids by local UVF men resulted in the death of civilian Protestants and Catholics. Spence was arrested shortly after the UVF was declared illegal in June 1966. His daughter Liz describes his arrest in the book …

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Gusty Spence dies

The BBC are reporting that former UVF leader Gusty Spence has died in hospital after a long illness. He was 78. TurgonThis author has not written a biography and will not be writing one.