War Without End: Comparing IRA and Loyalist Vigilantism in Northern Ireland

Andrew Silke, Max Taylor

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Paramilitary vigilantism in Northern Ireland has increased dramatically in the wake of the 1994 cease-fires, and is increasingly threatening to destabilise the peace process. Yet despite the long history of vigilantism in Northern Ireland and the unprecedented attention the activity is now attracting, virtually no empirical research has been carried out on the topic. This article reports findings from a study made of 213 IRA and 132 loyalist vigilante incidents which occurred between 1994 and 1996. The aim of the study was to provide hitherto unavailable demographic information on the vigilantism. Results also show that there are clear differences between IRA and loyalist vigilantism and that the nature of vigilantism is changing over time. The main conclusion is that there is a worrying lack of even basic knowledge about the vigilantism at a time when its importance is increasing dramatically. The findings are discussed in relation to the current situation in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-266
Number of pages18
JournalThe Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • terrorism
  • Northern Ireland
  • Troubles
  • Northern Ireland Troubles
  • paramilitaries
  • vigilantism
  • Irish Republican Army
  • loyalist paramilitaries
  • Ulster Defence Association

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