are trodding in bucketfuls of hypocrisy by blatantly
snubbing invitations to participate in the 90th
anniversary commemorations of the Easter Rising.
whole purpose of the Love Ulster campaign south
of the border was to highlight the victims of republican
terrorism who many unionists believe are being airbrushed
out of Irish history.
the same Right-wing clique which is pouring scorn
on the Easter Rising is trying to eradicate an entire
section of Protestant culture on this island
namely the ethos of Protestant nationalism.
since partition in the 1920s, has unionism been
given such a brilliant opportunity to re-establish
its presence on the Southern counties of this island
and embrace Protestantism's rich all-Ireland true
needs to stop being selective in honouring Protestant
icons who played a major political role in the types
of government on this island. It is only within
the past generation, that unionism decided to de-sectarianise
St Paddy's Day and stop writing it off as a 'republican
have marched on 17 March to honour their patron
saint, and across the North this year Unionist Party
branches held Irish events to honour this part of
their heritage. So why not recognise Protestantism's
icons connected with the Rising rather than simply
dismissing them as traitors?
it not Edward Carson himself who started the treason
by bringing in weapons and bullets from Germany
to arm the Ulster Volunteers? Was it not Carson
and James Craig who condemned Southern unionists
to their fate at partition?
ever there was The Great Betrayal in unionism's
cultural history it was the Carsonite policy of
not supporting Southern unionism.
come its now perfectly acceptable for unionists
to honour the Ballycarry teenager William Nelson,
a Presbyterian who was hanged by the English for
his role in the 1798 rebellion by the United Irishmen?
nowadays unionism ignores Protestants such as the
Ballymena Academy educated Sir Roger Casement of
the Irish Volunteers, and Broughshane's Captain
Jack White who drilled the Irish Citizens Army
both key characters of the Rising.
three years before the Rising Casement and White
organised an anti-Carson Protestant meeting in Ballymoney
in unionism's North Antrim homeland.
duo even had discussions with the Rev J B Armour,
then minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church in
Ballymoney who was a Liberal Home Ruler rather than
a nationalist. Do these Protestants not deserve
a recognition by political unionism this Easter?
are we seeing the selective honouring of heroes
in the same way Northern unionists refused for generations
to honour the bravery of two of Belfast's winners
of the Victoria Cross simply because they were Catholics?
Magennis won his VC in 1945 during World War Two;
Patrick Carlin got his for his courage during the
bloody Indian Mutiny of 1857 yet both were
conveniently airbrushed out of unionist history.
unionists this Easter also going to rub out the
memories of other leading Northern Protestants who
had major connections with the Rising, such as the
journalists Sean Lester from Carrickergus and Ernest
Blythe of Lisburn both of whom were active
in the Irish Republican Brotherhood? And what about
Bulmer Hobson, another Protestant nationalist of
also seem to conveniently forget the Catholics who
fought for King Billy at the Boyne as well as the
thousands of Presbyterians who fought with Protestant
revolutionary Wolfe Tone in 1798.
will not even recognise the existence of Protestants
like Casement and White in April 1916, yet they
will march proudly each 1 July to commemorate the
thousands of Catholics who died on the opening day
of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
unionism continues to refuse to recognise its Protestant
heritage, it will soon rapidly deteriorate into
nothing more than a two-county movement in Antrim
seems to have conveniently overlooked the Glorious
Revolution gave birth to the Protestant Ascendancy
which ran the whole 32 counties of the island.
Protestants need is a strong dose of Revolutionary
Unionism an ideology which forces them to
consider their all-island heritage and culture.
And don't dismiss Revolutionary Unionism because
of the so-called numbers game.
the rise of the evangelical movement in both Protestantism
and Catholicism, this brand of 'born again' Christianity
has the potential to become the majority voice in
the Irish Christian faith within a decade.
snub the 90th anniversary of the Rising at their
peril. The centenary in 2016 could well see a united
Ireland under the banner of the European Union.
many more Protestant icons will unionism have destroyed
by then? The hard fact is that in heritage and cultural
terms, unionists are their own worst enemies.