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Keywords:

  • Loyalism;
  • violence;
  • transformation;
  • criminalisation

A central failing of analysis of the peace process has been to account for, explain and determine the extent of loyalist-led conflict transformation. My argument is that, despite evident wrong-doing, there has been a failure to appreciate the prosperity of loyalist thinking and action in the period after the paramilitary ceasefires of 1994. Loyalism has appeared less relevant than it is to peacemaking due to its criminalisation, its refusal to accept positive morphology and a failure to self-promote. An appreciation of the positive nature of loyalist transition offers much to those who seek to comprehend the future of Northern Ireland.