The Lords of Discipline: The Methods and Motives of Paramilitary Vigilantism in Northern Ireland.

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Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have been involved in vigilantism since the earliest years of the Troubles. With the onset of the terrorist cease-fires in 1994, vigilante attacks dramatically increased in both frequency and severity. Showing no signs of diminishing, the vigilantism has now become one of the most sensitive and critical issues in the continuing peace process. This paper presents a detailed analysis of paramilitary vigilantism, describing first the diverse range of activities which the practice incorporates. More importantly, the paper also focuses on the complex forces and motivations which lie behind the paramilitaries’ commitment to the vigilante role. The paper concludes with an assessment of the impact of the vigilantism on current developments in the Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-156
Number of pages36
JournalLow Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • vigilantism
  • terrorism
  • Northern Ireland
  • Northern Ireland Troubles
  • Troubles
  • paramilitaries
  • Irish Republican Army
  • loyalist paramilitaries

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