Dalaradia slowly evolved from the peace process as a vehicle for working class loyalists in County Antrim, many of whom were ex combatants, to engage in the transformation of our communities after the troubles. Our origins spring from various members engaging in the ACT program in 2010. The A.C.T initiative is a conflict transformation process supporting former combatants on their journey from conflict to peace.
Key members of Dalaradia were involved in enabling the peace process to move forward, especially by facilitating decommissioning of the loyalist arsenal, many members and associates had not bought into the process because they saw no benefits to their community.
The first official representation of Dalaradia was in 2011 at Belfast City Hall when the chairman of the group was co-opted on to the Ulster Centenary Committee, of which the present author was founder chairman, to organise the ongoing decade of events. This has involved the highly successful Balmoral Review and the Centenary of the founding of the original UVF at Craigavon House. Key members of Dalaradia were previously involved in founding the Loyalist Commission (2003), meeting with all loyalists, MLAs, clergy and Secretaries of State. In 2011, members of Dalaradia went on a week-long, inter-community trip to the Somme to try to give everyone involved a deeper understanding of this key period of history. Individuals from either side of the political divide who took part in that project have remained in touch.
Although the Somme is paramount in our minds, members of Dalaradia are eager to engage with people from across the board within a Common Identity logic to move towards a shared future.
Our members see Dalaradia as a broadly Ulster-Scots body open to all aspects of our culture relating to all who share our land. We are also determined to learn from other people’s experience of divided societies. Thus, in 2012 the chairman was one of a small group of senior loyalists who visited Israel to study the conflict there, engaging with Israelis and Palestinians, as well as with university, Kibbutz, military and UN personnel.
The group sought to explore all aspects of common identity in the belief that with the true understanding of our shared past a shared future might be possible for all the people of the British Isles, members continue to engage with all sections of our community in Ulster , Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
In December 2013 the group initiated its own website and facebook page as a method of sharing its experiences and inviting views from the wider community
We are part of the REACH (Renewing – Engaging – Advancing – Community – Hopes) Project.