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
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.
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