O Elena Uteva What are the chances for lasting peace
in Northern Ireland in 2006?
Republicans/Nationalists are predominantly Catholics and demand the right of self-government and autonomy from Britain. They support and request less economical and political dependency on Britain, the separation from the United Kingdom and the formation of Ireland as a single independent republic.
Conversely, Unionists/Loyalists are predominantly Protestant and support Northern Ireland’s union with Britain. They oppose the Catholic democracy and they believe that Northern Ireland’s union with United Kingdom has economical benefit for Ireland.
Nationalism is a movement that demands independence from Britain and constitutes of the parties including ‘Social and Democratic Labour Party’, ‘Hibernians’ and ‘Sinn Fein –Workers party of Ireland’.
The Social Democratic Liberal Party is a major nationalist party which had the aims of achieving independence from Britain through peaceful means.
Republicanism is a movement demanding complete independence under a republican government and includes the political parties: ‘Irish Republican Army’, ‘real IRA’, ‘Fianna Fáil’, ‘Fine Gael’ and ‘Provisional Sinn Féin’
In resent terms, republicanism has been used to refer to the side which advocates violence against the state of Northern Ireland and supports the use of paramilitaries to gain an independent Ireland.
The Irish Republican Army is a military organization that has a central aim of achieving a united Ireland and terminating political connections with Britain by using acts of terrorism such as bomb plantations.
Unionism is a movement that is opposed to a united Ireland and supports the union with Britain instead. They believe that the political union with Britain has economical benefit to Ireland and that if there was a united Ireland, Protestants would be discriminated against. Unionist parties include ‘Ulster Unionist Party’, ‘Democratic Unionist Party’ and ‘Orange Order Party’. They believe in the means of peaceful protest and therefore are involved in discussions, debates, non violent movements and marches.
The Orange Order Party had close links the UUP and is an association that had the aims to defend Protestants and the constitution. They participate in an annual march to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne and King William of Orange.
A loyalist is defined as someone who is loyal to the union and British crown and includes the following parties: ‘’Ulster Volunteer Force’, Ulster Freedom Fighter’ and ‘Ulster Defence Association’.
Recently, loyalists have been referred to as militant unionists or as those who support paramilitaries and military opposition in a bid retain the union with Britain.
The Ulster Volunteer force is a loyalist paramilitary group that opposed Home Rule to Ireland and led attacks on Catholic nationalists and republican communities.