This paper will explore the development of increased group tensions in Northern Ireland over the past decade with a special emphasis being placed upon rising racial tensions in cities such as Belfast and Lisburn.
The paper will analyse why Northern Ireland has been described as the new race-hate capital of Europe and, through a case-study of Loyalism, will argue that if this growth in racist sentiment is to be prevented, more needs to be done to understand the causes of such feeling, particularly within loyalist working-class areas. I will argue that society as a whole needs to address the fears and anxieties of those that perceive themselves to be under threat from the recent increase in immigration or else we risk creating a new cause célèbre for those that would seek to extend the lifetime of our paramilitary organisations. Moreover, at a time when loyalist communities feel politically alienated and lacking representation, there is a real danger of British far-right groups exploiting the situation and making long-term political capital.
|Keywords:||Racism, Loyalist Alienation, Community Conflict, Social Class Division|
Teaching Fellow, School of Education, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Ireland
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