Trade dispute between EU and Britain has ‘breathed new life’ in Northern Ireland | Politics | New
Dr Aaron Edward, a researcher specializing in loyalist terrorism, has warned that the controversy over the Northern Ireland Protocol has sparked renewed activity from paramilitary groups. The author of UVF: Behind the Mask pointed out that new paramilitary structures have developed as a result of large-scale unrest within loyalist communities around the Brexit protocol. Northern Ireland saw the worst riots seen in decades earlier this year, as loyalist street gangs targeted police during protests against new customs checks in the Irish Sea.
Dr Edwards told Express.co.uk: “The point is that Northern Ireland’s Brexit protocol has breathed new life into these old archaic paramilitary organizations.
“Those rusty structures that we have seen for many years are now back.
“Where they recruit and to some extent, I guess they are organized.
“We see them on the streets, we see their dark hand behind a lot of these protest actions.”
“But one thing I would like to point out that is not immediately evident here in the protests.
“We don’t just see traditional paramilitary groups, loyalist paramilitary groups, the UVF and the UDA. You know the ones we know something about.
“We also see groups where they’ve basically split up in a lot of geographies from these main groups and they run their own shows.
“They are therefore heavily involved in protest actions both in Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland, east and west, north and south.”
He added: It’s one development that can happen, another could be that loyalist paramilitary groups crumble, call it a day, and there are rumors that they will pull back at some point.
“But what replaces them again is an open question,” the University of Leicester academic continued.
“If we see more radicalization and extremism around the Northern Ireland protocol, we may see new paramilitary groups emerging.
“So I’m not going to say it won’t happen, I think there is always a danger that can happen.”