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Tartan Gangs and ParamilitariesThe Loyalist Backlash$
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Gareth Mulvenna

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383261

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383261.001.0001

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date: 14 December 2018

Football, Flags and Fighting (1970–71)

Football, Flags and Fighting (1970–71)

(p.65) 3 Football, Flags and Fighting (1970–71)
Tartan Gangs and Paramilitaries

Gareth Mulvenna

Liverpool University Press

Chapter Three places the oral histories in the context of the growth of republican violence and in particular focuses on the last weekend of June 1970, when events occurred which led to the formation of the UVF in East Belfast and the organisation of a small militant grouping of young loyalists in North Belfast which would become known as the Red Hand Commando. The chapter explains the importance of John McKeague as a leading loyalist and the way in which his protest against nationalist residents at the Unity Flats interface at the foot of the Shankill Road in 1970 became an ongoing focal point for young loyalists, most notably Tartans and Linfield supporters who were eager to vent their frustrations at the declining security situation in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, the chapter describes how the Tartan movement gained momentum as the first half of 1971 proved to be a dire period for Ulster Protestants.

Keywords:   Red Hand Commando, Ulster Volunteer Force, Linfield Football Club, John McKeague, Orange Order

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