Fighting To Stay The Same



For decades some Northern Ireland loyalists protested, rioted, and killed to protect their sense of Britishness. The fearsome ability of their paramilitary groups to put thousands on the streets to challenge - or even at times reverse - decisions that displeased them has gradually been weakened to the point of derision. How did it get to this point?

BBC Ireland Correspondent, Andy Martin, examines the current state of loyalism. Often characterised as the fiery wing of unionism, loyalist protest has failed in recent years to effect change, such as a reversal of a decision to end the routine flying of the Union flag above Belfast City Hall.

So what do the loyalists from the heartlands of the Shankill, east Belfast and the villages of north Antrim think of their predicament? Some still believe they are a force to be reckoned with, some say they have outlived their usefulness to the mainstream unionist political leaders. Amidst this identity crisis, many people outside loyalism are only too happy to portray them all as criminals only interested in self-gain.

Producer: Paul McKillion.