THE head of the Royal Black Institution sent a message of defiance to the British government on Saturday, warning that Northern Ireland “is not for sale”.
In an address to members of the order, the Sovereign Grand Master, Reverend William Anderson, also said their British citizenship had been “seriously eroded” by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Reverend Anderson was speaking after the annual demonstration at Maguiresbridge in Fermanagh to commemorate the Battle of Newtownbutler in 1689.
He said it was ‘time to remind our UK Government that this part of the UK is not for sale – or treaty with – any foreign power’. “The memory of those who fought and drove out such a foreign power should then encourage that resolve,” he said.
“We cannot ignore the dilution of our UK citizenship.
“It is hard to believe that a government would accept the annexation of part of its sovereign territory without seeking the approval of the people of that territory.”
Reverend Anderson added that “under the threat of Republican terrorism, we have been left with a border not between the UK and the EU, but between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK – a border in the Irish Sea”. “This not only means that there are many customs checks for the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, but also, more importantly, that our British citizenship here in Northern Ireland is now different – it has been seriously eroded,” Rev. Anderson told members.
“Indeed, the Act of Union has been compromised.
“The UK government is solely responsible for its citizens across the UK, especially here in Northern Ireland. None of this responsibility should be shared with a foreign power. »
Speaking on the reasons for the protocol, Reverend Anderson said: “The task of preventing substandard goods from entering the EU is an EU problem. It is not up to the UK to solve this problem.
“Just look at how the French refuse to take responsibility for those who leave their shores to enter the UK illegally.”
The protest drew more than 1,000 senior loyal order members from across Northern Ireland and the Republic, joined by more than 30 groups.
County Grandmaster and UUP MP Tom Elliott was among those present at the event.