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Big Read: As the debate about a united Ireland intensifies, young loyalists are feeling under siege

Lundy Day in Derry commemorates a historical event, but it also reflects that many loyalists are still trying to close those gates and won’t even contemplate a united Ireland

Thousands attend the annual Apprentice Boys Lundy parade in Derry in December 2022; the event commemorates the 17th-century siege of the city and the ‘shutting of the gates’ against the approaching army of the Catholic King James II. Picture: Pacemaker

Robert Lundy, stuffed with straw, his face geisha-white, his cheeks gaudily rouged and his hair woolly, black and thick, hangs from his gantry on the corner of Bishop Street and Society Street, waiting.

On this frigid, lead-grey Saturday morning in December, he’s waiting for the Apprentice Boys of Derry, who are on their way to burn him in effigy for his crime of nearly surrendering the city to the attacking Catholic forces in 1689.

That ...