John Walsh: Hardcore loyalists march to the beat of a different drum

A border poll may come sooner than we think, despite what Boris Johnson has said. But some unionists will never be swayed, even if there’s a majority in the North for a united Ireland

A firework display in Portadown on the Friday evening before the Twelfth of July. Picture: Pacemaker

The annual Twelfth of July commemoration means very different things to different people in the North. For many of the Protestant population, it is a celebration of identity and culture. For many Catholics, it is a display of triumphalism, sectarianism and bigotry. While not readily acknowledged, for most people in the Republic, it heightens the sense that the North is a different country.

There was much anxiety over this year’s events. Relations between the Irish ...