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Loyalist concerns about developments in the 1980s
This report looks at how Loyalists viewed developments in the 1980s in Northern Ireland. In the 1980s Republican prisoners went on hunger strike demanding that they should be treated as political prisoners rather than ordinary criminals. These actions also created tension in the Loyalist community. When IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands died thousands of Catholics attended his funeral, and to Loyalists it looked like there was a real chance of a Catholic uprising against the Northern Ireland state. The programme follows the story of Billy Giles, who was so worried by the apparent, imminent threat to his community that he became involved in Loyalist paramilitary activity. He describes his activities and the effect they had on him in a very powerful testimony. The clip closes with the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement and the vast protests against the Agreement which Unionists took part in which followed it. Taken from, Loyalists, first broadcast in 1999.
In recent times some commentators have been criticised for arguing that we should try to understand people like Republican or Loyalist paramilitaries because they are just evil. Does this clip help you decide your view on this issue?
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