| 15.9°C Belfast

Close

Premium


Dialogue needed between unionism and loyalism to create a positive, vibrant and attractive Northern Ireland

Dr Graham Spencer and Rev Chris Hudson


Close

Former UUP leader Lord Trimble at his home in Lisburn earlier this year

Former UUP leader Lord Trimble at his home in Lisburn earlier this year

PA

Former UUP leader Lord Trimble at his home in Lisburn earlier this year

Of the images that came to define the Good Friday Agreement negotiations one symbolises the possibility of a collective unionism.

In it, David Trimble is flanked by representatives from the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party and the Ulster Democratic Party entering Parliament Buildings during the final stages of negotiations. Partly an attempt to neutralise DUP claims that Trimble did not represent unionism beyond his own base, the image nevertheless represented a moment when closer relations between unionism and loyalism no longer seemed unimaginable.

The image was one of shared conviction and not just shared convenience. It stressed how the dominant unionist party of the day, the UUP, and the loyalists, wanted the GFA to happen and, indeed, there is little doubt that without the loyalists it would not have happened.