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Malachi O'Doherty

'The Government met the IRA because it needed to understand them... the DUP meeting loyalists is more like a family'

Malachi O'Doherty


The party's discussions with the Loyalist Communities Council are nothing new. It has a long history of contacts with paramilitaries, says Malachi O'Doherty

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Shared enterprises: An Ulster Resistance Rally at the Ulster Hall attended by Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson

Shared enterprises: An Ulster Resistance Rally at the Ulster Hall attended by Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson

Talks: DUP leader Arlene Foster met with a body that represents loyalists

Talks: DUP leader Arlene Foster met with a body that represents loyalists

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Shared enterprises: An Ulster Resistance Rally at the Ulster Hall attended by Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson

A big lie that prevailed through much of the Troubles period was that the British Government did not - and would not - talk to terrorists. In fact, Edward Heath's Government negotiated the first IRA ceasefire in June 1972. The British offered a meeting between the Secretary of State, William Whitelaw, and the IRA leadership.

The IRA learnt a lot from that process. They knew by the time it was over that the British would talk to them again some day.

The British had effectively disclosed their understanding of what a ceasefire entailed. It was simply to be an agreement that the IRA would not shoot soldiers, or police officers, and would not bomb property. Killing civilians and other paramilitaries didn't ruffle British ministers.


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