A brief glossary of terms and acronyms in daily use in Ireland from Irish
Republican News, for reference. Additions or corrections welcomed.
26 Counties: Most of Ireland; became independent from Britain after
the Easter rising of 1916 and the war of independence fought by the IRA between 1919-1922
6 Counties: Northern portion of Ireland under British government
rule; also referred to as 'Northern Ireland."
A Chara (Pron: oh KORR-oh): Irish Gaelic introduction to letter, meaning
'Friend'. Plural is A Chairde (Pron: oh KARR-DYEH)
AAI: Australian Aid for Ireland - Irish Republican solidarity organisation
Aer Lingus (Pron: AYR LING-uss): Irish national airline
Alliance Party: A small northern political party which wishes to maintain the union with Britain. Led by Seamus Close
An Post (Pron: onn PUST): The semi-state body operating the postal service.
AOH: Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Irish Catholic organisation based in the US.
Ard Chomhairle (Pron: ORD KOW-ir-leh): Leadership or 'high Council.'
Ard Fheis (Pron: ORD ESH): Annual Convention, usually of a Political Party.
BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation. Available in much of
Bord Failte (Pron: BURD FAWL-che): The Irish Tourist Board.
Bus Eireann (Pron: bus AIR-inn): A subsidiary of CIE responsible for bus
services outside of Dublin.
Cabinet: Government decision making body. Chaired by Taoiseach. Government
Ministers. The Attorney General and the Chief Whip are seated members but cannot participate in decision-making.
Cairde Sinn Fein (Pron. CARD-yeh SHINN FAYN) Support organisation for Sinn
Fein (inside the US, see Friends of Sinn Fein)
CLMC: Combined Loyalist Military Command - a now defunct grouping
of the loyalist paramilitary UVF, UFF/UDA and the Red Hand Commando
cIE: Coras Iompair Eireann (The former State Transport Company).
Coiste na n-Iarchimi (Pron. KISH-te noh NEER-chi-MEE) - Umbrella organisation
working for former Irish Republican political prisoners
Connolly Association: British-based Republican
organisation campaigning for Irish re-unification and independence.
Conradh na Gaeilge (Pron: CUNN-rah noh GAYLE-geh): Organization devoted
to the preservation and promotion of Irish language and
Constituency: Electoral region, usually about 30,000-40,000 voters.
Cumann (Pron: KUMM-onn): Local organisation or constituent 'society' of
a larger organisation.
Dail (Pron. DAWL): Parliament of the 26 counties.
DOE: (British) Department of the Environment
DHSS: (British) Department of Health and Social Services
Drumcree: Site of major confrontations for past several years between Orange
Order marchers and local nationalist residents.
DUP: Democratic Unionist Party - Ultra-hardline unionist party. Led by
Eire (Pron. AY-reh): Irish Gaelic name for Ireland
EU: European Union; formerly EC or EEC.
Feile: (Pron. FAY-leh) Festival
Fleadh: (Pron. FLAH) Traditional music gathering, with competitions
F.F.: Fianna Fail (Pron. FEEN-oh FAWL): - 26-County Political Party; conservative,
generally nationalist - led by Bertie Ahern.
F.G.: Fine Gael (Pron. FIN-eh GAYLE): - 26-County Political Party; conservative,
with more secular social policies; generally unionist. Led by Enda Kenny.
First Minister: Head of the Stormont Executive responsible for devolved
government in the Six Counties
FOSF: Friends of Sinn Fein - US based lobby and fund-raising organisation
for Sinn Fein.
Foyle: The Derry region and river/estuary
GAA: Gaelic Athletic Association (Governing Body for Hurling,Gaelic Football,
Gaeltacht (Pron. GAIL-tockt): Irish Speaking Regions.
Garda (Pron. GORR-doh): Police - Full name is Garda Siochana ("Guardians
of the peace"). Gardai (Pron. GORR-DEE) is the plural of
GFA: Good Friday Agreement. Internationally binding peace treaty
signed in 1998 by the Irish and British governments and all the political
parties in the Six Counties except the DUP and UKUP.
GHQ: General Headquarters
Green Party: Environmentalist political party
H-Blocks; components of Long Kesh prison; site of 1981 hunger strike
House of Commons: Lower chamber of the British parliament at Westminster
HRC: Human Rights Commission
IAUC: Irish-American Unity Conference
ICTU: Irish Congress
of Trade Unions
IDA: Ireland Industrial Development Authority (State body chartered to
attract foreign industry.)
IDB: Industrial Development Board (British state body chartered to attract
foreign industry to the 6-counties).
IFA: Irish Farmers' Association
IICD: Independent International Commission for Decommissioning. Body
set up under the GFA to mediate the process of putting arms beyond use.
INAC: Irish Northern Aid Committee - US-based Republican support organisation.
INLA: Irish National Liberation Army (small republican socialist Organisation,
now on ceasefire).
IPLO: Irish People's Liberation Organisation (Breakaway group from INLA, now defunct).
IRA: Irish Republican Army - army of volunteers engaged in armed struggle
against the British forces in Ireland, now on ceasefire
IRSM: Irish Republican Socialist Movement (includes the INLA and a political
party, the IRSP) - opposed to IRA ceasefire
ITV: Independent Television. British television channel, available in Ireland
Labour Party: Small 26-County political party; left of centre on many issues.
Led by Ruairi Quinn. The British equivalent, led by Tony Blair, is the party of government at Westminster
Leinster House: The seat of the Irish parliament in Dublin
Long Kesh: Large prison which formerly housed most 6-county political prisoners;
the H-Blocks are located here.
Loyalism: A sort of Unionism, traditionally more disposed to violence;
proponents are 'loyal' to Great Britain. Includes a number of paramilitary organisations which have worked in collusion with
LVF: Loyalist Volunteer Force - a loyalist paramilitary organisation not
on 'ceasefire' - broke away from UVF in Mid-Ulster area
Maze: British name for Long Kesh
MEP: Member of the European Parliament.
MI5: British military 'intelligence' organisation; operates undercover
in Ireland, often in collusion with loyalistparamilitaries.
MoD: (British) Ministry of Defence
MP: Member of (the British) Parliament.
NIWC: Northern Ireland Women's Coalition
NIO: Northern Ireland Office - the administrative headquarters for the
6 Counties, headed by Britain's direct ruler Paul Murphy and a team of British government ministers.
NIUP: Northern Ireland Unionist Party - small unionist party which
broke away from the UKUP
Noraid: See INA
OFMDFM: Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers at the Stormont
Oireachtas (Pron. irr-ACK-tos): Name to cover both houses of the 26-County
Parliament (ie. The Dail and the Seanad) and the President.
Orange Order: Extreme anti-Catholic religious/political organisation in
6-Counties; opposes 'popery'; Unionist/Loyalist in political allegiance. Led by Robert Saulters.
PD: Progressive Democrats - Political party founded in the late 80's by
Fianna Fail dissidents; policies generally right-wing.
PR: Proportional Representation - voting system employed in 26-Counties,
namely STV - single transferable vote.
PSNI: Police Service of Northern Ireland - the new name for the RUC
PUP: Progressive Unionist Party - small fringe unionist party associated
with the UVF.
'Real' IRA: Small new republican organisation engaged in armed actions.
Claim to be "the true IRA". Goals are similar to those of RSF.
Red Hand Commando: Another loyalist paramilitary organisation, part of
Republican Movement: Describes the principle modern incarnation of the
Irish republican tradition which draws on 18th century French republicanism and historical Irish influences, including Wolfe
Tone, the United Irishmen, Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Easter Rising. Includes Sinn Fein and the IRA.
RIR: Royal Irish Regiment - British Army regiment formed in 1992 with the
amalgamation of the UDR and Royal Irish Rangers.
RMD: Republican News, online Irish republican news service.
RSF: Republican Sinn Fein - small breakaway Republican political party.
Goals are similar to those of the 'Real' IRA.
RTE: Radio Telefis Eireann (Pron. RAH-dee-oh TELL-if-eesh AIR-inn): (The
state-owned broadcasting authority). RTE1 and Network2 are its two television channels.
RUC: Royal Ulster Constabulary - former name of the British militarised
police force in the 6 Counties.
SAS: Special Air Services (An undercover wing of the British Army, some
of whose members operate in the 6-Counties, largely above the law).
SDLP: Social Democratic and Labour Party (A nationalist political party
in the 6-Counties).
Seanad (Pron. SHAN-odd): Senate (or upper house of Parliament) - must approve
all legislation before it can become law. Styled on the British House of Lords.
Sinn Fein (Pron. SHINN FAYN): Political party led by Gerry Adams
Slan: (Pron. SLAWN): Irish Gaelic for 'Farewell'.
Sky TV: British satellite TV station owned by Rupert Murdoch
Stormont: Buildings employed by several 6-County parliaments. Seat of British
rule in Ireland.
STV: Single Transferable Vote - see PR.
Taoiseach (Pron. TEE-shack): Prime Minister (Head of Government - the President
is Head of State)
Tanaiste (Pron. TAW-nish-teh): Deputy Prime Minister.
TD: Teachta Dala (Member of the Dail).
TG4: Irish language television channel
TOM: Troops Out Movement - British based organisation working to bring
about a withdrawal of British forces from Ireland.
Tories: British Conservative Party of government in Britain; supports continuing
British occupation in Ireland. Led by William Hague.
TV3: Independent Irish television channel
UDA: Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist paramilitary organisation in
the 6-Counties synonymous with the UFF; worked largely in co-operation with undercover British forces.
UDP: Ulster Democratic Party - small unionist party with one or two elected
councillors. Was associated with the UDA/UFF, now replaced by the UPRG.
UDR: Ulster Defence Regiment (Now renamed - a regiment of the British Army
which operates in the 6 Counties. Amalgamated into the RIR.)
UFF: Ulster Freedom Fighters (A loyalist paramilitary organisation. Synonymous
with the UDA.)
UKUP: United Kingdom Unionist Party. Small new unionist Party. Led by Bob
Ulster: Province of Ireland. Nine counties, including the 6 Counties and
Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.
Unionism: Political philosophy supporting maintainence of British rule
of the 6 Counties.
United Kingdom: Defined by British government as Britain and its offshore
islands but also the 6 counties.
UPRG: Ulster Political Representation Group: Group formed to
represent the paramilitary UDA in the political arena. Replaced the disbanded UDP.
UTV: Ulster Television - the independent commercial television channel
serving the 6-Counties, part of ITV
UUP: Ulster Unionist Party - largest unionist party. Led by David Trimble
UVF: Ulster Volunteer Force (Loyalist paramilitary organisation). Allied
to the PUP.
Westminster: Seat of the British parliament in London,including the House
of Commons (lower chamber) and the House of Lords (upper chamber)
(c) Republican News. May be reprinted with credit.
Irish Republican News and Information