163 Ulster Political Research Group ‘Beyond the Religious Divide’ .
This advisory group was set up in conjunction with the Ulster Defence Association and this report was an attempt to define a political path to be taken by them. The document’s main conclusion is for an Independent Northern Ireland to be realised through political means.
The Democratic Unionist Party was created by Desmond Boal and Ian Paisley, evolving from the Protestant Unionist Party.
It was directly opposed to the Stormont Unionists, who were open to Power Sharing with Republican and Nationalists, and equally objected to the Republic of Ireland having any involvement in Northern Ireland’s affairs. It campaigned against the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement, the Anglo-Irish Agreement of
1985, and the subsequent peace deal that was the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. It had been linked to a variety of paramilitary organisations.
Sinn Féin was given a concrete presence in the community when the IRA declared a ceasefire in 1975. ‘Incident centres’ were set up to communicate potential confrontations to the British authorities. They were manned by Sinn Féin, which had been legalised the year before by Secretary of State, Merlyn Rees.
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was officially created on Friday 21st August 1971 by Gerry Fitt, who would lead the party until John Hume – then Deputy Leader – assumed full control as only their second leader in 1979 until 2001.
The SDLP was a Nationalist political party, committed to non-violence and was a conglomeration of the various smaller parties of the time that were focused on the creation of an Irish sovereignty.
It would become the main political voice for Nationalists until Sinn Fein made gains in the 1980s, when the latter began to contest elections.
Secretary of State, Merlyn Rees, declared that he would legalise Sinn Fein on 4th April 1974. He also legalised the UVF and announced the intention to phase out Internment. On 14th May the appropriate legislation was passed at Westminster.
Interesting paper on morals and identity by Spencer P. Greenhalgh can be found here.
Key quotation for me was: “Those who design a game must include thematic and mechanical elements that are ethically salient and likely to invite moral action or provoke moral dilemmas; those who implement the game must be aware of those thematic and mechanical elements and create a context that encourages players to take them seriously and engage with them” (Greenhalgh, 2021, p. 463)
The Ulster Volunteer Force was a loyalist paramilitary organisation formed in 1966 by Gusty Spence, a former soldier. With the direct aim of maintaining Northern Ireland’s role as part of the United Kingdom, it saw itself as justified in eliminating the Irish Republican intention of bringing about a United Ireland through armed struggle; despite this, two thirds of its 500 victims were innocent Catholic civilians. The UVF was declared illegal in 1966 but continued its bloody campaign until declaring a ceasefire in 1994, and eventual cessation of its campaign in 2007.