members of Cairncastle LOL 692 have celebrated a landmark in their history with the unveiling of their new banner.
The Orange Order’s Director of Services, Dr David Hume, guest speaker at the occasion, said he was “delighted and honoured” to share in the historic occasion.
“This new banner portrays important symbols. The presence of Britannia reminds us of this special jubilee year for Her Majesty the Queen, who has served the nation with dignity, commitment and dedication and has given us much to celebrate. The portrayal of William of Orange reminds us of the struggle for civil and religious liberty which this nation endured in the past, and the triumph of values which have evolved to this present time,” he said.
Dr Hume said he was particularly pleased to learn that the Ulster Covenant of 1912 would have a place on the banner since this is the centenary year of that momentous event.
“The Covenant was a binding commitment to stand by one another throughout a time of threatened calamity and to ensure their cherished position of equal citizenship within the United Kingdom. It is the trust deed of Northern Ireland,” he said.
In his address, Dr Hume told the gathering that the forthcoming Home Rule centenaries give a unique opportunity to increase understanding and respect throughout the community.
He said the unionists of 1912 had handed down a legacy to modern unionism, and that there was also a challenge to ensure that all those who wanted to belong to the union felt valued.
“It is important that, a century later, we are able to look anew at the events of the Home Rule period. It is also important that we can discuss them maturely and sensitively. The outworking of this period resulted in major events with lasting consequences in our communities,” the Order’s Director of Services said.
“A century since the Covenant the aspirations of the unionist community remain undimmed.
Last year, 73 per cent of respondents to an opinion poll in Northern Ireland said they wanted the region to remain a part of the UK. The Life and Times survey published in June 2011 found 52 per cent of Roman Catholics living in Northern Ireland wanted the union to continue, compared with a third who favoured a united Ireland.
“The position of equal citizenship for all was the unionist position of 1912. Anyone who does not believe in that should reconsider their outlook. The Roman Catholic people have a place in the United Kingdom as they always have had. There was never a time when we did not want everyone to share in the equal citizenship which we cherish. But the out workings of the Home Rule crisis and settlement worried Sir Edward Carson, who cautioned Ulster unionists not to repeat the dangers they had voiced about being a minority.
“Sadly the course of our history was not a perfect one in the 20th century. The Roman Catholic community lapsed in many areas into an uncomfortable acknowledgement that they were on the wrong side of the border. So too in the Irish Free State a smaller minority felt betrayed and kept its culture alive through its churches and its Orange lodges. We must look back and understand the processes. The events of a century ago shaped us. We believe that, whatever the shortcomings, our forefathers secured a place within the United Kingdom, which was for the benefit of all,” Dr. Hume said.