Beyond the Religious Divide – Revisited

About a week ago my friend Shirley McMichael approached me about starting a blog.

Having given her some advice it became clear that she had a pressing urge to republish the New Ulster Political Research Group report ‘Beyond the Religious Divide’.

The report was originally published in 1979, some forty years ago, and Shirley’s late husband John McMichael was a leading light in attempting to draw the UDA towards a political path. I offered to host the document and some brief introductory comments from Shirley. I would like to thank her for choosing this blog to host the report and her thoughts.

I remember reading this document, ‘Beyond the Religious Divide’, many years ago. It was published in 1979 and was well received and shows Loyalist thinking at the time. Unfortunately, it was not available online so after a Facebook request for the document, a friend was able to send one to me. I was particularly keen that it was not lost as my late husband John McMichael was one of the contributors. I have now typed up the main section and converted it to a PDF document. Thank-you to Gareth Mulvenna for hosting it on his blog. Today we have not had a Government in Northern Ireland for 3 years and unfortunately a shared Legislative structure has failed. This document gives a good overview of the pros and cons of various options for government in Northern Ireland and it is worth reading again today. The main conclusion of ‘Beyond the Religious Divide’ is for an Independent Northern Ireland. There are many arguments against this – mostly financial. However, it is appealing!

Shirley McMichael, Wednesday 18 December 2019

Click the link to read Beyond-the-Religious-Divide

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John McMichael in the early 1980s. Photo: Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives, John J. Burns Library, Boston College

Published by gmulvenna

Co-editor of 'The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); author of 'Tartan Gangs and Paramilitaries: The Loyalist Backlash' (Liverpool University Press, 2016) and co-author of 'My Life in Loyalism' (Merrion Press, 2020) with Billy Hutchinson. Currently: -Collaborating with Billy Hutchinson on his autobiography -Curating and archiving photographs of West Belfast in the 1970s and 1980s taken by my late father-in-law Paul Molloy -Trying my hand at creative writing

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