A brief glossary of terms and acronyms in daily use in Ireland
From RM_Distribution - an Irish Republican news and information service
* 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) Festiva
* Fleadh: (Pron. FLAH) Traditional music gathering, with
* F.F.: Fianna Fail (Pron. FEEN-oh FAWL): - 26-County Politica
lBR> Party; conservative, generally nationalist - led by Bertie Ahern.
* F.G.: Fine Gael (Pron. FIN-eh GAYLE): - 26-County Politica
lBR> 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 plura
lBR> of Garda.
* 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 politica
lBR> 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/politica
lBR> 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.
* 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.
* 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)