Jude Collins

Monday, 23 January 2012

Loyalist ex-prisoners with university degrees?

Alan in Belfast’s blog today has an extended interview with John Kyle, a GP and former leader of the PUP. In it Kyle talks about the intersection between faith and loyalism, but I found another aspect of his interview more interesting. He says that the media portray the typical loyalist unfairly as “muscled, perma-tanned, tattooed, gold-necklaced, numerous ringed, male, with a pit bull terrier and a tight t-shirt”.  He goes on to look at the notion that in Long Kesh, republican prisoners studied and took university courses, while loyalists were busy pumping iron in the gym. “In actual fact, more loyalists prisoners left Long Kesh with university degrees than republican prisoners did”.

Really?  That’s the second PUP leader I’ve heard make that kind of claim.  The late David Ervine once told me that loyalists in Long Kesh were some ten years ahead of republicans in  their emphasis on study and education.  At the time,  I didn’t believe him. Now that John Kyle has effectively repeated the claim, I’m not so sure.  There must be facts and figures on this matter: where are they?  And if Ervine and Kyle’s claim is accurate,  where did the studying-republican/iron-pumping loyalist idea come from – and why?  If it’s not accurate, why have they made it?

The truth is out there. It's a question of finding it. 


  1. I would bet every penny I have that Mr Kyle is wrong.

  2. If I may be so bold, may I ask a question? If so many loyalist prisoners achieved educational degrees, what have they done with their knowledge? Published books by ex loyalist prisoners? Can't think of any? Plays written by ex loyalist prisoners? Nope. Significant contributions to political, social or economic debate by ex loyalist prisoners? Pinch me, I can't think of any. In fact, those on the loyalist side who have offered any cultural discourse have usually been disowned and run out of town by neanderthals in their own districts.
    In fact, until proven otherwise, me thinks that John Kyle and the late David Ervine are more than just a little envious of the proliferation of Irish Republican prisoner academics that they try to cover for the intellectual deficiencies of loyalist paramilitaries.

  3. Unless there was some university ofering a degree which involves ingesting one's self with copious amounts of drugs and watching hardcore porn (probably at the same time) I think you'll have a long wait on that list.

  4. I doubt very much that the loyalist claims would stand up. A few completed degrees but not as many as from the republican camp. Even at the exams which were held yearly there was always a majority of republicans sitting, with one or two loyalists. It was a neutral zone with no conflict so they were all put in the one exam room. John White completed a masters I believe but he still ended up standing beside steroid types.

    1. i know of at least six uvf loyalist prisoners who were the first to recieve their accolades,

  5. Loyalist POWs studying and earning degrees? Oh dear me no, we can't have that. The media and their friends within Irish nationalism have told us for years that all Loyalists are muscle bound, knuckle headed, drug pushers, so surely that must be the absolute truth!? After all, the media, and organisations such as as Provisional SF, would never tell lies to suit their own narrow agenda, would they?!

  6. oh shocking. the fact that a loyalist can also have a brain must be abhorrent to the nationalists.

    if we want to go down the stereotype route( i.e pumping iron etc) then maybe the loyalists were studying whilst the republicans were painting walls with excrement