Loyalist gangs withdraw support from the Good Friday Agreement over post-Brexit Irish border

A mural in Northern Ireland

Loyalist paramilitaries have withdrawn support from the Good Friday Agreement over post-Brexit border measures.

The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) is an umbrella organisation that reportedly includes proscribed terror groups like the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando. The group has written a letter to Boris Johnson and Irish taoiseach Micheál Martin. It warns that the 1998 peace agreement faces “destruction” if the border is imposed.

In the letter, which was first reported by the Irish News, LCC chair David Campbell said:

please do not underestimate the strength of feeling on this issue right across the unionist family. … Accordingly, I have been instructed to advise you that the loyalist groupings are herewith withdrawing their support for the Belfast agreement until our rights under the agreement are restored and the protocol is amended to ensure unfettered access for goods, services, and citizens throughout the United Kingdom. If the EU is not prepared to honour the entirety of the agreement then it will be responsible for the permanent destruction of the agreement.

He said that Loyalist groups were:

hereby withdrawing support for the Belfast Agreement and its institutions until our rights under the agreement are restored

Campbell added that the groups were concerned that new border checks for goods coming in would create “disruption to trade and commerce between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom”.

No return to violence?

Responding to the letter, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Jeffrey Donaldson spoke to the BBC. Donaldson said that following his own discussions with the LCC on the matter, he felt there was:

no sense that loyalist paramilitaries were going to revert to violence in opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol. I think that is reflected in this statement. Of course we are very clear that choosing the path of violence is not the way to go in any circumstances.

Loyalist gangs

The move drew criticism from politicians in the north of Ireland, but the implications are not yet clear. Stephen Farry, an MP with the centrist Alliance party, said:

The agreement stands on the basis of the dual referendums in 1998. I am more concerned at the continued escalation of rhetoric and building of unrealistic expectations that the protocol can be replaced in the absence of a plausible alternative.

Farry said he was concerned “that what is essentially a voice for proscribed terrorist organisations is becoming an actor in a political debate”.

Irish News security reporter Allison Morris, who broke the story, tweeted a full version of the LCC letter. She warned that while the move might be meant as a negotiating tactic, it could have a “destabilising” effect:

But whether or not the letter is intended as a negotiation tool, these threatening words are a worrying sign. And it is yet more evidence that the Tories have failed Ireland when it comes to Brexit.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Keith Ruffles

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  • Show Comments
    1. Go ask Steve Topple for his solution to the NI crisis, Joe, if he’s got a couple of mins from writing excellent articles recently. 🙂 Pro-Brexshiteers should have all the answers, right?

      Brexshit, the gift that just keeps on giving….

      Sadly, the “Unionists” are cowardly scum, who will take out their anguish at being betrayed upon regular catholic citizens, rather than the Tory b*st*rds who actually did it to them.

      Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out how many of the unionist terrorists actually VOTED FOR BREXSHIT too? Kind of makes them look very dumb and manipulated, especially when it was precisely the DUPs fault that the Brexshit actually happened.

      Well, there is no way the Tories could reverse the leave, and no sign that Steer Calmers New New Labour has intention of so doing, the US and EU will go apeshit if the Agreement fails, and boy oh boy what a SHOCK! – it turns out the UK is still part of a web of International Law and relations, and is not “Sovereign” to do as it damned well pleases sans consequences.

      I hope the stunt was worth it for Grees-Moogs offshored bank balance (WHAT a patriot! :wub:), because the rest of us now have to engage the seat belt.

      It is going to be a harsh re-entry into reality…

      1. This is just stage one of the disaster that is Brexit. The tories entered into this without thought or concern for any consequences other than a determination to free themselves from the EU so they could strike a trade deal with Trump to enrich themselves and their buddies. The British people? The Irish people? Well they were stupid enough to vote for us so who cares!

        1. Agreed. Its an impossible issue, and they voted for this impossibility.
          Trade with the Republic of Ireland? No trade with England?
          They didn’t pay attention then, and its fair to say now they still don’t have the ability to pay attention to what’s possible.
          Only guns, and war is the solution imaginable?
          A dim, bleak crowd here with no potential to find a solution.

          1. Loon, there IS no solution! EU negotiators spent the past 4 years working on it day and night, and there is no way to square that circle.

            NI ‘Loyalists’ are Turkeys who voted for Xmas, and have now realised the farmer lied to them, and they’re NOT going to get a wonderful slap up meal at the end of Dec.

            Terrorist turkeys.

            I suspect BloJo won’t be strolling around casually in NI without a large security detail for the forseeable future. Lol.

            Sadly, it will of course be the other normal NI who will actually bear the brunt of this disappointment, rather than the Tories and DUP who actually DID it to them.

            Just like the morons who voted for brexshit, and now believe the press lies that the problems will be the EUs fault.

            Like it was the EU that left! :facepalm:

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