Whither new loyalism? Changing loyalist politics after the belfast agreement

James W. McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article focuses on the politicisation of sections of the Loyalist paramilitaries and the consequences for the restructuring of the politics of Loyalism in the contemporary period. Following the signing of the Belfast Agreement, Loyalism found new expressions through several groupings, such as the now disbanded Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). These parties came to prominence in 1994 following the ceasefire statement issued by the Combined Loyalist Military Command. The politics they projected was seemingly different and more progressive than that which had been heard before from Loyalism. Hence it was soon dubbed ‘New Loyalism’. This article analyses the political and social dynamics behind New Loyalism. It suggests reasons why it took the form it did. It explains why New Loyalism has failed to mark a permanent fissure within Unionist politics. It sets this in the context of the reconstruction of contemporary Unionist political hegemony around the DUP and the marginalisation of other political groupings within unionism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-340
Number of pages18
JournalIrish Political Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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