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A Guide To Irish Political Acronyms

Updated on August 5, 2019
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The author is a QUB Political Science honours graduate, a political analyst and has written on a variety of related issues.

Irish Republican

Irish Republican Socialist Party - A left wing Republican party
Irish Republican Socialist Party - A left wing Republican party
Irish National Liberation Army - A left-wing militia that is viewed as an heir to Connolly's Irish Citizen Army (ICA)
Irish National Liberation Army - A left-wing militia that is viewed as an heir to Connolly's Irish Citizen Army (ICA)
Anti-Stormont message
Anti-Stormont message
New IRA message to informers
New IRA message to informers
New IRA message to informers on road sign
New IRA message to informers on road sign

Business As Usual

Those unfamiliar with Irish politics, history and the recent conflict often state that it is often made more confusing by the seemingly endless series of initials or acronyms representing a plethora of political organizations, secret societies, statutory bodies, and political parties. Hopefully, the following list will be a useful tool for those unfamiliar with the peculiar political culture, largely in the North of Ireland.

Many of the organizations listed are now moribund, have been consigned to history or have morphed into new organizations post-ceasefires. However, they are still referenced in contemporary politics and culture in Ireland. Many of the acronyms listed regularly appear as graffiti or are incorporated into political wall murals in northern Irish working-class areas which function as territorial markings, not dissimilar to the principle of gang-related territorial tags or 'colors' in North America's proletarian ghettos.

Although the lines of demarcation may have softened a little since the recent ceasefires. However, a working knowledge of the numerous Irish acronyms will help visitors, for instance, determine whether they are in a Republican or Loyalist working-class area or which organization may hold sway within that area. The fact that the North of Ireland's 'Peace Walls' have actually increased in number and height since the supposed cure-all panacea of the Good Friday Agreement and that the Stormont mini-parliament has been defunct for over two years makes for an uneasy peace, at best. Although the list of Irish political acronyms below is far from exhaustive, with new organizations appearing almost weekly, it provides a working list for those interested in Irish affairs and the history of the recent conflict.

Irish Acronyms

  • AOH - Ancient Order of Hibernians
  • ABOD - Apprentice Boys of Derry
  • APNI - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
  • BNP - British National Party
  • CAC - Continuity Army Council
  • CAJ - Committee on the Administration of Justice
  • CCDC - Central Citizens Defence Committee
  • CEA - Catholic Ex-Servicemens Association
  • CIRA - Continuity Army Council
  • CLMC - Combined Loyalist Military Command
  • CPI - Communist Party of Ireland
  • CPNI - Communist Party of Northern Ireland
  • CPNI - Conservative Party of Northern Ireland
  • CRC - Community Relations Council
  • CRF - Catholic Reaction Force
  • DAAD - Direct Action Against Drug-dealers
  • DCAC - Derry Citizens Action Committee DCDC - Derry Citizens Defence Committee
  • DFM - Deputy First Minister
  • DPP - Director of Public Prosecutions
  • DUP - Democratic Unionist Party
  • EPA - Emergency Provisions Act
  • FF - Fianna Fail
  • FG - Fine Gael
  • FM - First Minister
  • FTP - F*ck the Provos
  • FTP - F*ck the Pope
  • FTPSNI - F*ck the Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • FTQ - F*ck the Queen
  • GAA - Gaelic Athletic Association
  • ICA - Irish Citizen Army
  • ICTU - Irish Congress of Trade Unions
  • IIP - Irish Independence Party
  • ILP - Independent Labour Party
  • INC - Irish National Caucus
  • INLA - Irish National Liberation Army
  • IPLO - Irish Peoples Liberation Organisation
  • IRA - Irish Republican Army
  • IRB - Irish Republican Brotherhood
  • IRLA - Irish Republican Liberation Army
  • IRSM - Irish Republican Socialist Movement
  • IRSP - Irish Republican Socialist Party
  • ITGWU - Irish Transport & General Workers Union
  • IWG - Irish Workers Group
  • LAW - Loyalist Association of Workers
  • LOL - Loyal Orange Lodge
  • LOCC - Lower Ormeau Concerned Community
  • LORAG - Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group
  • LPA - Loyalist Prisoners Association
  • LVF - Loyalist Volunteer Force
  • MEP - Member of the European Parliament
  • MLA - Member of the Legislative Assembly
  • MOD - Ministry of Defence
  • MP - Member of Parliament
  • MRF - Military Reaction Force
  • NF - National Front
  • NGA - National Graves Association
  • NICRA - Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association
  • NILP - Northern Ireland Labour Party
  • NIO - Northern Ireland Office
  • NIPS - Northern Ireland Prison Service
  • NORAID - Irish Northern Aid Committee
  • NUPRG - New Ulster Political Research Group
  • OC - Officer Commanding
  • ODFM - Office of the Deputy First Minister
  • OIRA - Official Irish Republican Army
  • ONH - Oglaigh na hÉireann
  • OO - Orange Order
  • ORM - Official Republican Movement
  • OV - Orange Volunteers
  • OSF - Official Sinn Fein
  • OSF - Ogra Sinn Fein
  • OUP - Official Unionist Party
  • PAF - Protestant Action Force
  • PD - Peoples Democracy
  • PD - Progressive Democrats
  • PIRA - Provisional Irish Republican Army
  • PLA - Peoples Liberation Army
  • POA - Prison Officers Association
  • POW - Prisoner of War
  • PPS - Public Prosecution Service
  • PR - Proportional Representation
  • PSF - Provisional Sinn Fein
  • PSNI - Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • PTA - Prevention of Terrorism Act
  • PUP - Progressive Unionist Party
  • RAAD - Republican Action Against Drugs
  • RAC - Relatives Action Committee
  • RBP - Royal Black Preceptory
  • RNU - Republican Network for Unity
  • RC - Roman Catholic
  • RC'S - Republican Clubs
  • RHC - Red Hand Commandos
  • RHD - Red hand Defenders
  • RIR - Royal Irish Regiment
  • RIRA - Real Irish Republican Army
  • RLP - Republican Labour Party
  • RSF - Republican Sinn Fein
  • RSYM - Republican Socialist Youth Movement
  • RUC - Royal Ulster Constabulary
  • RUCR - Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve
  • SAS - Special Air Service
  • SB - Special Branch
  • SDLP - Social Democratic and Labour Party
  • SF - Sinn Fein
  • SP - Socialist Party
  • SS RUC - Anti-RUC slogan
  • SWP - Socialist Workers Party
  • TA - Territorial Army
  • TD - Teachta Dalá
  • TOM - Troops Out Movement
  • UDA - Ulster Defence Association
  • UDF - Ulster Defence Force
  • UDP - Ulster Democratic Party
  • UDR - Ulster Defence Regiment
  • UFF - Ulster Freedom Fighters
  • UIP - Ulster Independence Party
  • ULA - Ulster Loyalist Association
  • UPNI - Unionist Party of Northern Ireland
  • UPUP - Ulster Popular Unionist Party
  • UPV - Ulster Protestant Volunteers
  • USC - Ulster Special Constabulary
  • USCA - Ulster Special Constabulary Association
  • UTH - Up the Hoods
  • UTJR - Up the Joyriders
  • UTP - Up the Provos
  • UUP - Ulster Unionist Party
  • UUUC - United Ulster Unionist Council
  • UWC - Ulster Workers Council
  • UVF - Ulster Volunteer Force
  • VSC - Vanguard Service Corp
  • VUP - Vanguard Unionist Party
  • WP - Workers Party
  • WP/RC - Workers Party/Republican Clubs
  • YCV - Young Citizen Volunteers
  • 32CSM - 32 County Sovereignty Movement
  • 1916 - Year of Easter Rising
  • 1690 - Year of battle of the Boyne

Loyalist Graffiti

'Kill All Catholics' graffiti
'Kill All Catholics' graffiti
Loyalist objections to social housing. Many Loyalist Godfathers have large property portfolios that are let out to tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit
Loyalist objections to social housing. Many Loyalist Godfathers have large property portfolios that are let out to tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit
Anti-Johnny Adair graffiti in the UDA Lower Shankill, Belfast, after he was expelled in an intra-UDA feud.(Presumably if the disabled kid had been Catholic that would not have been seen as problematic?)
Anti-Johnny Adair graffiti in the UDA Lower Shankill, Belfast, after he was expelled in an intra-UDA feud.(Presumably if the disabled kid had been Catholic that would not have been seen as problematic?)
UVF graffiti threatening Catholics
UVF graffiti threatening Catholics

Apart from the habitual political graffiti and murals in working-class areas of Belfast, there are also a growing number of non-political graffiti artists. On the whole, they are mainly middle-class kids who leave their mark on Motorway flyovers, urban commercial districts or under bridges in affluent areas of South Belfast. Their brand of urban art can be seen everywhere from London, to New York, and Los Angeles.

Street Art and Graffiti in Belfast.

© 2019 Liam A Ryan

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