THE unionist community in Northern Ireland must not forget those in what became the Irish Republic who signed the Covenant in 1912, a leading Orange official has said.
The Orange Order’s Director of Services, Dr David Hume – a Past Master of Magheramorne LOL 291 – told a meeting in Monaghan that those who signed the Covenant in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan in particular felt that they had been deserted by other unionists in 1919 when the Ulster Unionist Council voted for a six county Northern Ireland.
And he said that the Protestant unionist community in the Irish Free State endured difficult times as a result of their political stance in 1912 and after.
The Orange Order speaker said he believed there was a ‘moral responsibility’ for Ulster unionists to outreach and work with Protestant communities in the Republic of Ireland to help redress the pain of the past which they had endured.
He also said that the lessons from the history of the period should be used by everyone to ensure that there was greater understanding and respect for the historical processes which were the legacy of modern society.
Dr Hume was speaking on the Covenant at a meeting of the Clogher Historical Society in Monaghan County Museum and outlined the history of the Third Home Rule crisis and the Ulster Covenant, which was signed by thousands of Monaghan unionists.
Dr Hume said: “This was an extremely well attended cross community event and a good role model for how we can engage with each other as communities in order to understand different perspectives.”
He added: “It was a great pleasure to accept the invitation of the Clogher Historical Society and to see their event so well supported.”