This paper analyses the Democratic Unionist Party‟s (DUP) discourses about paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland. Drawing on narrative analysis of DUP discourses reported in Northern Ireland‟s largest unionist newspaper, the News Letter (1998–2006), it explores the relationship between the party‟s identity, its discourses about republican and loyalist paramilitaries, and the impact of these words on the DUP‟s electoral success and on the peace process. The paper argues that these discourses may haunt the progress of peace-building, not least because the DUP will find it hard to disentangle itself from a history of scepticism and nay-saying even as it takes a leading role in a devolved Executive designed by an Agreement it long-scorned.

Author Bio(s)

Amber Rankin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Providence College and is a Master of Letters degree candidate at the University of St. Andrews in International Security Studies. Her current research addresses paramilitarism in democratic contexts. Email: amber.rankin@gmail.com.

Gladys Ganiel is lecturer in Reconciliation Studies at the Belfast campus of the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin. She is the author of Evangelicalism and Conflict in Northern Ireland (Palgrave, 2008) and has published on the role of religion in politics, focusing on Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Email: gganiel@tcd.ie.


Democratic Unionist Party‟s (DUP), News Letter (1998–2006), Northern Ireland, peacebuilding, peace process

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