Glossary of Irish Terms and Acronyms
A glossary of terms and acronyms in daily use in Ireland, with an
emphasis on the 6-counties. Taken from a variety of sources and slightly
updated from the last time this was distributed. Additions or corrections
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; also called the `Free
State', 'Eire' or 'the Republic'.
6 Counties: Also called 'the North'. Portion of Ireland under
British government rule, which usually refers to it as 'Northern
Ireland'. Called 'Ulster' by unionists.
A Chara (Pron: oh KORR-oh): Irish Gaelic introduction to
letter, meaning 'Friend'. Plural is A Chairde (Pron: oh
AAI: Australian Aid for Ireland - Irish Republican solidarity
organisation in Australia
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 Phoblacht/Republican News (Pron: onn FUB-lockt): The
official newspaper of the Irish Republican Movement.
An Post (Pron: onn PUST): The semi-state body operating the
AOH: Ancient Order of Hibernians. Irish Catholic organisation
based in the US.
AP/RN: An Phoblacht/Republican News
Ard Chomhairle (Pron: ORD KOW-ir-leh): Leadership or 'high
Ard Fheis (Pron: ORD ESH): Annual Convention, usually of a
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
Cairde Sinn Fein (Pron. CARD-yeh SHINN FAYN) Support
organisation for Sinn Fein (inside the US, see Friends of Sinn
Clann na nGael: (Pron. KLON noh NGAYLE) US-based Irish
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
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 - Extreme 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
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 Michael Noonan..
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, and Handball).
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
H-Blocks; components of Long Kesh prison; site of 1981 hunger
House of Commons: Lower chamber of the British parliament at
IAUC: Irish-American Unity Conference
ICMSA: Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association
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
INAC: Irish Northern Aid Committee - US-based Republican support
INLA: Irish National Liberation Army (small republican
socialist organisation, now on ceasefire).
IPLO: Irish People's Liberation Organisation (Breakaway group
from INLA, now defunt).
IRA: Irish Republican Army - army of Irish Volunteers engaged
in armed struggle against the British forces in Ireland, now on
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 as UTV.
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
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 British forces.
LVF: Loyalist Volunteer Force - a loyalist paramilitary
organisation not on 'ceasefire' - broke away from UVF in
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 loyalist
MP: Member of (the British) Parliament.
NIWC: Northern Ireland Women's Coalition
NIO: Northern Ireland Office - the administrative headquarters
for the North, headed by Britain's direct ruler Mo Mowlam and a
team of British government ministers.
Noraid: See INA
Oireachtas (Pron. irr-ACK-tos): Name to cover both houses of
the 26-County Parliament (ie. The Dail and the Seanad) and the
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 variable.
PR: Proportional Representation - voting system employed in
26-Counties, namely STV - single transferable vote.
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
Red Hand Commando: Another loyalist paramilitary organisation,
part of the CLMC.
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.
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 - 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): A political party within the
Republican movement working for peace, justice and equality. Led by
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.
T.D.: Teachta Dala (Member of the Dail).
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
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.
Udaras na Gaeltachta (Pron. OOD-or-AWCE noh GALE-tock-tah): State-sponsored body responsible responsible for
the development of industry and the language in Irish speaking areas.
UDC: Urban District Council.
UDP: Ulster Democratic Party - small unionist party with one or
two elected councillors. Associated with the UDA/UFF.
UDR: Ulster Defence Regiment (Now renamed - a regiment of the
British Army which operates in the 6 Counties. Amalgamated into
UFF: Ulster Freedom Fighters (A loyalist paramilitary
organisation. Synonymous with the UDA.)
UKUP: United Kingdom Unionist Party. Small new unionist Party.
Led by Bob McCartney.
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.
USI: Union of Students in Ireland.
UTV: Ulster Television - the independent commercial television
channel serving the 6-Counties, part of ITV
UUP: Ulster Unionist Party - largest unionist party. Led by
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)
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