Wednesday, 28 September 2011
99th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant
Last night I attended an event organised by the Ulster-Scots Community Network to mark the 99th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant. This was the third of their annual Covenant events and it is most appropriate that it was organised by the USCN.
The Covenant was inspired by the old Scottish covenants and the author was Thomas Sinclair, the leading Liberal Unionist, the foremost layman in the Presbyterian Church and an Ulster-Scot. Indeed most of the Unionist leaders in Ulster were Ulster-Scots and they were proud of their ancestry.
The speakers last night looked at four topics including the Presbyterian Anti-Home Rule Convention and the role of Andrew Bonar Law, the Ulster-Scot who was the leader of the Conservative Party.
As well as organising lectures, the USCN has also produced several excellent booklets on aspects of the Covenant and they have proved to be extremely popular.
The Ulster Covenant brought together the various strands of Unionism - Conservative, Liberal and Orange - and provided them with a common platform, affirming their commitment to the Union and setting out the reasons for that commitment.
As we approach the centenary of the Ulster Covenant and the start of a decade of centenaries that will lead on to 2021 and the centenary of Northern Ireland, we do well to reflect on the principles embedded in the Covenant. They are just as valid today as they were all those years ago.