What’s What – Glossery of Key Terms

Act of Union
The Act of Union of 1800 united Great Britain and Ireland under the parliament at Westminster, abolishing a separate Irish parliament. It came into effect on 1st January, 1801.

Apprentice Boys of Derry
Brotherhood founded in 1814 to commemorate and celebrate two events of Derry’s siege: the shutting of the city gates by the thirteen apprentices (December 1688) and the end of the siege without surrender to James II (August 1689). The society has branches throughout the UK and in North America.

Barry’s Law
Peter Barry was Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Ireland 1982-7: ‘Barry’s Law’ was a phrase used by some Unionists hostile to the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1985 to describe the prospect of being ruled from Dublin.

Battle of the Boyne
Battle between the forces of William III and James II in 1690 which ended with a decisive victory for William III. Orangemen celebrate the anniversary of the battle on 12th July.

An area outside Derry’s city walls. By the 1960s, the Bogside was an estate where part of Derry’s Catholic population lived in overcrowded council housing. The Bogside became a centre of radical nationalism during the Troubles.

St Columb’s Cathedral
Church of Ireland Cathedral in Derry, built in 1633. Celebrations by the Apprentice Boys of Derry traditionally feature services at St Columb’s.

Council of Ireland
An institution to be established under the Sunningdale Agreement. Members would be representatives from the governments of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The council would focus on discussing common policies in certain areas, mostly related to shared economic problems and ventures. The council’s functions were disputed, and were to be limited, but it was significant because it would represent an attempt to introduce formal cooperation in the governance of the North and the Republic.

Direct Rule
The administration of Northern Ireland from Westminster instead of a regional parliament. Direct rule was introduced to Northern Ireland in 1972 when the Stormont Parliament was suspended. Since 1972, the British Government has appointed a Secretary for Northern Ireland to oversee direct rule.

The British government department responsible for government income and spending: informally, the word is used to refer to the money spent by this department on public projects.

Fountain Estate
A traditionally strongly Loyalist area of Derry

Grammar School
Selective secondary school: those existing in Northern Ireland in the 1960s were designed to cater for the top 25% of students.

The printed record of British Parliamentary sessions

Higher National Certificate: work-related higher education qualification, reformed in the 1960s so that it could act as one route to university programmes

Internment without trial was used against the IRA on several occasions. Most controversially, in August 1971, the Northern Irish Prime Minister Brian Faulkner introduced a new law authorizing the holding of suspected terrorists without trial, and without any limit on the term of imprisonment. The policy targeted nationalists, with a far smaller number of unionists interned and led to an immediate escalation in sectarian violence. Internment did not lead to stability and was suspended in 1975.

The Irish Republican Army: the main republican paramilitary group involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland. The I.R.A. had existed in several forms before 1972: in that year the Provisional I.R.A. emerged as the leader of violence in the republican cause. The I.R.A. is thought to have been responsible for over 1,750 deaths between 1969 and 1993.

Slang term for an old, battered car

The oldest university in Wales: a small institution for which the Robbins Report recommended expansion. It built stronger ties in the 1960s with the University of Wales, of which Cardiff University was a member.

The Loyalist Association of Workers: founded in 1971 and active until 1974. The organisation was especially active in protest against the Sunningdale Agreement, and was to a great extent absorbed into the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC) in 1973. A journal, also called the Loyalist Association of Workers was published by this group.

Liberal Arts College
A type of third level institution common in North America, usually focusing on teaching rather than research, emphasising the virtues of a broad education rooted in the humanities, and small in comparison with other universities. Liberal Arts Colleges tend to have lower running costs than research-intensive universities.

Lockwood Committee
The Committee established in 1963 to consider the future development of higher education in Northern Ireland. The committee’s recommendations, presented in 1965, included the foundation of a second university, to be located in Coleraine, and excluded the option of granting university status to Magee College.

Magee College
Founded in 1865 to prepare students to enter the Presbyterian ministry, the College eventually began to send students wishing to earn degrees in arts and sciences to Trinity College Dublin for the last two years of their studies. It was hoped that Magee would be raised to university status (and able to grant its own degrees) as part of a new institution in Derry. After the Lockwood report recommended that a second Northern Irish university should be founded in Coleraine, protest at the sidelining of Magee led to the decision in 1969 to incorporate the college into the New University of Ulster.

Minister in the Senate
Cabinet member who represented the Northern Irish Prime Minister in the Northern Ireland Senate

New City
Craigavon, County Armagh, founded as a new town in 1965 to relieve pressure on Belfast.

Northern Ireland Assembly
For 1973 and 1974, this refers to the elected assembly established to govern Northern Ireland: the Northern Ireland Constitution Act, 1973, sought to ensure that it would function under a power-sharing executive, so that Ministers came from both nationalist and unionist parties. The assembly was closed down with the executive in May 1974 after the UWC strike.

Northern Irish Civil Rights Association
Founded after meetings between representatives of all of Northern Ireland’s political parties, the NICRA campaigned publicly in support of the rights of the Catholic minority between 1967 and 1972. NICRA organised the anti-internment march of 30th January 1972 which saw thirteen protesters shot dead by soldiers from the First Parachute Regiment of the British Army.

Provisional IRA
See I.R.A.

Queen’s University Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast was founded as one of three ‘Queen’s Colleges’ in 1845, receiving full university status in 1908 and was the only university in Northern Ireland until 1968. It had 3570 students in 1960. The Queen’s University’s Student Representative Council was in favour of Derry as site of the new university.

Robbins Report
The Robbins Report on Higher Education was produced by a committee chaired by Lionel Robbins between 1961 and 1964. It called for the creation of over 100,000 new university places within the following decade.

Popular name for the Parliament Building, in the grounds of Stormont Castle, which was opened in 1932. The word was also used to refer to the Northern Ireland parliament itself which was suspended in 1972.

The ‘Sunningdale Agreement’ was a set of proposals agreed at a conference in Sunningdale, Berkshire, on 9th December, 1973. The conference was held to resolve the question of an ‘Irish dimension’ which had been demanded by nationalists who were involved in the prior agreement to establish a power-sharing executive. The conference was attended by the parties supporting the establishment of the executive, as well as representatives of the British and Irish governments. The most contentious proposal was the planned establishment of a ‘Council of Ireland’.

Ulster Defence Association: The main Loyalist paramilitary group active during the ‘Troubles’, established in 1971, operating under the cover-name of the Ulster Freedom Fighters when admitting to illegal activies. Cooperated with Ulster Vanguard and the L.A.W. in protesting against direct rule and power-sharing in 1972-4. The U.D.A. was essential to the success of the U.W.C. strike, during which it organised the road-blocks which paralysed economic life.

Ulster Vanguard
The Ulster Vanguard movement, led by William Craig, was most active in the early 1970s: it brought together Unionists from several parties who attempted to exert pressure on their fellow Unionists, believing that Northern Ireland must be prepared to act independently and defend itself.

University Grants Committee (U.G.C)
The University Grants Committee (1919-88) was responsible for judging the needs and performance of British universities and making recommendations on government policy and funding.

Ulster Workers’ Council: Loyalist organisation founded in 1974 by workers previously attached to the Loyalist Association of Workers. The UWC directed the strike which brought down the Northern Ireland Assembly and power-sharing executive in that year.

Westminster is the seat of the UK Parliament, and the word is often used to refer to the Parliament itself.

Whitehall Street in London is associated with the civil service attached to the UK parliament.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s