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Women Loyalist Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland: Duty, Agency and Empowerment - A Report from the Field
Unformatted Document Text:  Loyalist community of North Belfast. It was widely known that Ogilby was impregnated by a married British soldier stationed in Northern Ireland who then left her and her child for another duty station. In addition to these public accounts, when asked privately why the group of women might have wanted to attack Ogilby, one interviewee stated; As far as I remember the women were supposed to be angry because Anne was off her head with … the loudness, and the way she was flaunting herself. I found it very strange that she didn't appear to have been with a girlfriend in the club. Most women here do not go out on their own to bars or clubs even now. Why would anyone walk into a strange club on her own, it just doesn't make sense? Her overt transgression of gender and sexual norms were seen as cultural infractions, and offensive to the women and the organization. One or more of the women may have been seeking revenge for Ogilby’s various “infidelities,” toward the wife of her alleged lover, toward the group, and the community. This explanation as to why this group of women from the UDA attacked Ogilby would be to punish her for such “immoral” behavior. These more personalized or individual motivations coincide with the ideas of the origination of the term Romper Room where moral codes were enforced and problem behaviors or individuals “rehabilitated.” Furthermore, the women who attacked Ogilby may have, at least unofficially, been encouraged by male members of the UDA to assume the role of moral policing when it came to the punishment of women. Long considered a taboo, male members of LPOs were rarely known to carry out punishment beatings on women 6 . As such, Loyalist 6 While it is beyond the immediate scope of this paper, in the period of time just following the women’s arrest and conviction the leadership of the larger UDA disowned the women. A spokesman for the UDA stated “We have completely disowned them. We think the whole affair was foul and sickening. Anne Ogilby was cleared by the UDA of an allegation about her private life long before she was killed, he added. The killing was an act of jealousy by a group of women.” (Irish Times 8 Feb 1975). In this case the UDA belittles the killing as a disagreement among women and that it had no foundation in politics or real interest for the UDA. 16

Authors: McEvoy, Sandra.
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Loyalist community of North Belfast. It was widely known that Ogilby was impregnated
by a married British soldier stationed in Northern Ireland who then left her and her child
for another duty station. In addition to these public accounts, when asked privately why
the group of women might have wanted to attack Ogilby, one interviewee stated;
As far as I remember the women were supposed to be angry because Anne was
off her head with … the loudness, and the way she was flaunting herself. I found
it very strange that she didn't appear to have been with a girlfriend in the club.
Most women here do not go out on their own to bars or clubs even now. Why
would anyone walk into a strange club on her own, it just doesn't make sense?
Her overt transgression of gender and sexual norms were seen as cultural infractions, and
offensive to the women and the organization. One or more of the women may have been
seeking revenge for Ogilby’s various “infidelities,” toward the wife of her alleged lover,
toward the group, and the community. This explanation as to why this group of women
from the UDA attacked Ogilby would be to punish her for such “immoral” behavior.
These more personalized or individual motivations coincide with the ideas of the
origination of the term Romper Room where moral codes were enforced and problem
behaviors or individuals “rehabilitated.”
Furthermore, the women who attacked Ogilby may have, at least unofficially,
been encouraged by male members of the UDA to assume the role of moral policing
when it came to the punishment of women. Long considered a taboo, male members of
LPOs were rarely known to carry out punishment beatings on women
. As such, Loyalist
6
While it is beyond the immediate scope of this paper, in the period of time just following the women’s
arrest and conviction the leadership of the larger UDA disowned the women. A spokesman for the UDA
stated “We have completely disowned them. We think the whole affair was foul and sickening. Anne
Ogilby was cleared by the UDA of an allegation about her private life long before she was killed, he added.
The killing was an act of jealousy by a group of women.” (Irish Times 8 Feb 1975). In this case the UDA
belittles the killing as a disagreement among women and that it had no foundation in politics or real interest
for the UDA.
16


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