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A dialogue is needed between unionism and loyalism to create a positive, vibrant and attractive Northern Ireland

Of the images that defined the negotiations on the Good Friday Agreement, one symbolizes the possibility of collective unionism.

In it, David Trimble is flanked by representatives of the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party and the Ulster Democratic Party who enter Parliament’s premises during the final stages of negotiations. Partly an attempt to neutralize DUP, it claims that Trimble did not represent unionism outside of its own base, but the image nevertheless represented a moment when closer relations between unionism and loyalism no longer seemed unthinkable.

The image was one of shared conviction and not just shared convenience. It emphasized how the dominant unionist party of the time, the UUP and the Loyalists, wanted the GFA to take place and there is no doubt that it would not have happened without the Loyalists.