“When Ulster men are proudly glad of the land where they were born/And when England’s cry for help was heard we told them have no fear/For across the flanders fields we send our Ulster Volunteers.”
These are just a few lines from the song First Of July Morn and are used here to recall how the Ulster Volunteers – formed to fight against the imposition of Home Rule – became the 36th Division in WWI, and suggest that the British government should continue to support the Northern Ireland state beyond its one-hundedth anniversary and the current impasse over the NI Protocol of Brexit as a reward for loyalty.
The song’s alternate titles “England’s Treachery” or “Englishman’s Betrayal” give a better feel for the attitude of the whole thing: that England betrayed Ulster by having “sold away” the three counties of Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan, and that “Ulster men” should “never more be led away, to fight in foreign lands/Not to die, for someone else’s cause, at an Englishman’s command” (youtube). The application to the current situation would then be that loyalism cannot rely on the good nature of the English and should ready itself for “perfidious Albion” to (try to) give away the six counties as well.
“Ballyclare says no to a Irish Sea border.” “Loyalist Ballyclare will never accept an border in the Irish Sea.” “The Belfast Agreement has been broken – the deal’s off.”
Ballynure Rd/Main Street, Ballyclare, next to The Comrades.
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Copyright © 2023 Paddy Duffy
Camera Settings: f4, 1/500, ISO 100, full size 2049 x 1537
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