REACH UK Statement – 13/2/21

Reach UK endorses the 5 point plan from our countries First Minister and call on all to engage with it as a first step to resolving the divisive Irish Sea Border and NI Protocol. We also ask all within Northern Ireland to sign the relevant petition extending the 100,000 signatures to 250,000, not as a political party exercise but as a measure of province wide opposition to the NI Protocol and Irish Sea Border. We also pledge every support to those legal professionals within the pro union business community who may wish to launch a legal challenge to the protocol and end the uncertainty within all our lives. Reach UK is a non political entity and stress that these should not be seen as party political initiatives but as a societal imperative for us all. We implore all to set aside selfish or political career interests and work for a solution to the benefit of all within Northern Ireland. Reach UK calls on all parties in Northern Ireland to engage calmly and rationally with the UK government to address the NI Protocol and Irish Sea Border issues which are causing such alarm within our communities. As a possible way forward we support the idea, as we understand it, from The Centre for Brexit Policy’s proposal that Mutual Enforcement can provide the way forward. This arrangement would see the UK and EU recognising each others products and services in law, thereby negating the need for checks on goods going between UK and Northern Ireland. As Owen Patterson states under this arrangement only checks on goods going between EU and UK are required allowing for UK sovereignty to be protected and the Irish Sea Border to be abandoned. Mutual Enforcement works by inverting the normal approach to customs enforcement with compliance placed as law on the exporter of the exporting territory, critically the importing territory asserts its jurisdiction beyond its border and the border position becomes redundant. If Lord Trimble, whose role in bringing about the GFA is often downplayed, can support this, we feel it needs to be addressed as a sensible way forward. Furthermore on behalf of all Pro Union people we urge the UK government to fulfil the spirit of its published White Paper which commits to “delivering unfettered access for NI businesses to the whole UK market”, enshrining this principle in law as promised in the New Decade New Approach agreement also that the UK Internal Market will support our commitments on unfettered access, ensuring that they form part of a coherent UK wide system.

As to the Good Friday Agreement, this has been promoted during Brexit, by those in Eire, the EU and USA as a totally Green document serving only Republican/Nationalist interests. The dangers of this blatant sectarian approach have been highlighted by our members to the Eire and UK governments over several years to no avail. The EUs aggressive triggering of Article 16, immediately effecting a hard border on this Island, after years of issuing threats against any such move has driven a stake through the heart of the GFA which may yet prove fatal. Should all pro union stakeholders gradually withdraw support from the political process of the Good Friday Agreement, history will record that it was the EU that killed it.

Indeed if the GFA cannot be implemented inclusively then Billy Hutchinson’s recent assessment that Pro Union citizens will have no choice but to withdraw all support from the GFA would seem to be the only way forward. Were it not for the intensive work of the PUP and UPRG the GFA would never have been delivered, an inconvenient truth for many, so when people like Councillor and Party Leader Billy Hutchinson make this assessment it needs to be listened to. After his article, an example of being demonize occurred when he was dismissed as “a Loyalist Activist” rather than by his position or title by journalists, thus implying he is somehow “shady“. This in the same week as our First Minster being referred to as “Foster“ on television. These offensive discourtesies which never seem to be applied to Republicans only serve to alienate our community along with the Medias continuous referring to Loyalists as Terrorists but the IRA as Operatives. However these pale into significance compared to the SDLP and Alliance hysteria and sectarian contempt vented on those members from the pro union community who dared to engage in democratic and lawful discussions with civil servants on the future of our country, this from parties who engage on a daily basis with “former”(?) Republican terrorists who voted in council in support of Sinn Fein IRA proposals over 85% of the time in a twelve month period, and who continue to sanitise the IRA and its litany of crimes since the days of the Pan Nationalist Front. This contempt for all things Unionist highlighted long ago as a cold house in 2002 by SOS John Reid and again by Tony Blairs right hand man Jonathon Powell when he acknowledged that the UK government, Eire government and others had pandered to every whim of the IRA and left behind and ignored the PUL community have contributed to the current sense of alienation and betrayal, and needs to be addressed urgently.

If we are to continue to resolve our differences by peaceful dialogue then Taoiseach Michael Martin should apologise for the extreme and belligerent attitude taken at all times by Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney during Brexit discussions. With the backing of 28 EU countries they attempted to steam roll over the GFA protections promised also to the pro union citizens in Northern Ireland, a different attitude would have brought us to a better place today, and not destroyed 20 years of genuine North South cooperation and good neighbourliness. Perhaps the appointment of a Special Ambassador in the mould of Bertie Ahearn to repair North South relations would be the first step of conciliation between our two nations, he would find in the Ulster people integrity, courtesy and forgiveness.

REACH UK committed to an inclusive and diverse society for all within the British Isles.

LCC statement

A delegation from the Loyalist Communities Council has met with the Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Office, Madeleine Alessandri, to be briefed on the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol following the UKs’ withdrawal from the European Union. The delegation comprising David Campbell (Chairman), Winston Irvine, Jimmy Birch, and Robert Williamson relayed concerns from loyalist/unionist areas that Northern Ireland would be treated separately from Great Britain and asked the NIO to ensure that HMG acted quickly to minimise disruption and to ensure that there would be no actual or perceived diminution in Northern Ireland’s constitutional position.

The delegation strongly criticised the Irish government and nationalist representatives for only representing a nationalist perspective of the Belfast Agreement during the negotiations with the EU and asked the NIO to ensure that the new US President and Administration was briefed on the need for impartiality and respect for the majority position in Northern Ireland when it comes to dealing with NI/US issues. The LCC has repeated its appeal to loyalists to remain calm during this transition phase but also warned the NIO that it would be monitoring how Northern Ireland citizens would be treated under the new dispensation and would consider sponsoring legal action to protect the position of unionists if that became necessary.

The LCC delegation also emphasised the importance of appropriate events to mark the first centenary of Northern Ireland and has asked the NIO for an explanation as to why the loyalist community has been excluded from the Centenary Forum established by the Secretary of State.

END

To spend millions more on murder of Pat Finucane would be insult to many other victims who have had little attention

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/opinion/columnists/ruth-dudley-edwards-spend-millions-more-murder-pat-finucane-would-be-insult-many-other-victims-who-have-had-little-attention-3053592

 

I’m very relieved that Secretary of State Brandon Lewis did not cave into the pressure from politicians at home and abroad by setting up a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.
Pat Finucane in late 1988 at a shoot to kill inquest of IRA men. months before he was shot dead in early 1989. Ruth Dudley Edwards says: “He defended republican paramilitaries and the occasional loyalist, for he hated the state. Yet Sinn Fein managed successfully to rebrand him posthumously as a human rights lawyer”
Pat Finucane in late 1988 at a shoot to kill inquest of IRA men. months before he was shot dead in early 1989. Ruth Dudley Edwards says: “He defended republican paramilitaries and the occasional loyalist, for he hated the state. Yet Sinn Fein managed successfully to rebrand him posthumously as a human rights lawyer”
He has not said there will never be such an inquiry, but he is quite properly waiting for other investigatory processes to be carried out, and unless after 30 years there is an uncovering of spectacular new information, I can’t see any responsible government ordering it.

There have been millions spent already investigating that dreadful murder, and it would have been pointless and deeply insulting to innumerable victims bereaved by murders that have been given little attention and would also be a shocking squandering of public money.

The Saville inquiry into Bloody Sunday cost £200 million, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a moving and sincere apology, but there are still many republicans who reject its conclusions because it failed to point the finger at Prime Minister Ted Heath, who they want to believe ordered the random killing of Catholics.

Finucane’s widow Geraldine has already said publicly that Margaret Thatcher “knew exactly what was going on” between “security forces, loyalist paramilitaries and the state”.

She is a woman of her word. I’m sure that she will keep her promise that “with every breath in my body I will fight them to the bitter end”.

And if there ever is an inquiry, I would be surprised if she would be satisfied by a judgement that did not point the finger at Downing Street.

Mrs Finucane’s position is understandable, but it appals me that Sinn Fein’s propaganda machine has been so successful in making even people who should know better swallow their take on the case.

Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP, for instance, outrageously announced that “The British state murdered Pat Finucane,” an allegation made by none of the investigations or reviews.

I’ll write another time about collusion and how bogus most of the accusations are, but today I’m thinking about other lawyers who were victims of terrorism, like Edgar Graham, the young barrister and law lecturer the IRA gunned down because he was a clever unionist politician and three Catholic judges Rory Conaghan and William Staunton, each murdered in front of a young daughter, and Tom Travers, who survived several bullets but saw his 22 year-old-daughter Mary shot dead.

Norman Baxter, a retired PSNI Chief Superintendent, put it well when he said: “The Finucane family are entitled to justice, as every citizen is. But the granting of a public inquiry creates a hierarchy of victims, which is in itself an injustice.”

I was closely involved with the brave victims who took a successful civil case against the Omagh bombers. Some of them, like victims of Kingsmill and many other atrocities wanted a public inquiry and didn’t get one.

And their victims really were innocents, unlike Pat Finucane, who was not the secular saint he has been made out to be, but someone inextricably linked to the IRA.

He defended republican paramilitaries and the occasional loyalist, for he hated the state. Yet Sinn Fein managed successfully to rebrand him posthumously as a human rights lawyer.

In 1999 former RUC Chief Constable Sir John Hermon said that “Pat Finucane was associated with the IRA and he used his position as a lawyer to act as a contact between suspects in custody and republicans on the outside.”

In 2003, during a new wave of media lamentations about St Pat, Sean O’Callaghan, a repentant IRA terrorist who had first met Finucane at an IRA meeting in 1980, was “angered at the sheer hypocrisy, the hand-wringing” in the British and Irish press.

He had first met Finucane in 1980 at an IRA meeting, and when in prison in the late 1980s was visited by him in his legal capacity fishing for information that might be of use to the IRA.

He was, said O’Callaghan, “first and foremost an IRA volunteer, and he exploited his position ruthlessly to wage his war on the state”.

Yet unlike three of his brothers, John, killed on active service as a volunteer and Dermot and Seamus who were imprisoned for terrorist activities, Pat Finucane, like Gerry Adams, was supposedly never in the IRA.

“Nineteen eighty nine was a grim year in Northern Ireland,” wrote O’Callaghan. “Eighty one people were killed, 57 by republicans, 19 by loyalists and two by the security forces – one of them a loyalist shot by the security forces after he had murdered a Catholic in the Republican Ardoyne.”

These included 26 soldiers and nine policemen: there were very few convictions.

Yet Finucane’s murder “dominates the headlines and all the other disgusting acts scream at their silence, forgotten, it would seem by all but close family”.

He reminded his readers that “the great majority of the security forces carried out extraordinarily courageous work in the most dangerous of circumstances and, lest we forget, died in their hundreds to make these islands are safer and better place for all of us”.

Along with other innocent victims, we should be thinking of the brave security forces today, as their enemies continue to demonise them.

• Ruth Dudley Edwards is the author of Aftermath: The Omagh bombing and the families’ pursuit of justice

Wullie Drennan In Lockdown 2020. Official Press Release.

http://www.theulsterfolk.com/2020/11/wullie-drennan-in-lockdown-2020.html

Wullie Drennan In Lockdown 2020. Official Press Release.

 

Wee Book/ Big CD Booklet with 24 track CD disc included.

It’s always as much about the story as it is about the music.

Why Press Release?

Up to March 2020 I regularly sold CD’s, books and DVD’s at live concerts.

All live concerts have been banned.

Independent freelance musicians no longer get radio airplay on mainstream media: not since the days of the legendary Gerry Anderson.

The last supporter of independent music on BBC
 

So, the only way to let folk know of my new product is through word of mouth and online social media: for now.

And through some newspapers perhaps??

Once upon a time, back in the good old days, newspapers would have had reviewers who would review new releases of albums and books, of even independent grassroots material. Gone are those days.

It is up to me myself, on my own, to somehow persuade folk that this is essential reading and maybe even essential listening. No mean feat.

If nothing else, surely the story of how a full-time freelance practitioner of the arts in Northern Ireland spent Lockdown 2020 adapting to a world turned upside down – is worthy of a media story?

Why would anyone want to buy this?

For several years now, a large portion of CD’s sold at our gigs clearly were purchased by folk as a souvenir of the event or as a gift for others.

So, in my way of thinking this combination of a CD disc with a wee book/big CD booklet would be an ideal gift for those interested in traditional folk music, folklore, history and culture: with its 50 pages of story, insight and imagery.

I haven’t noticed any other musicians trying this approach as yet. But it just might work okay if people have a way of finding out about it.

List of tracks on CD.

Also included in the book  are lyrics for relevant new songs that were recorded post mastering and duplication of the CD. Such as: The Whole Wide World’s Gone Mad.
When is the Official Wee book/Big CD Booklet Launch??

Good question.

Answer: somewhere in Belfast as soon as the authorities allow real live people to attend events with real live music and storytelling. Due to the fact that I made a dedication to Dr Ian Adamson, a “Launch” was being organised in December by the Reach Project, www.reachproject.co.uk, in association with the Dalaradia Society, www.dalaradia.co.uk, as Ian was their patron. Cancelled of course. Watch this space: www.williedrennan.org for updates on that.

Ian Adamson with his friend, Van – who also gets a wee mention in my wee book..

 

Where can this wee book/big CD booklet be purchased?

Best to purchase via www.williedrennan.org.

It is also available in the following independent shops: Belfast Books, York Road Belfast; Midtown Makers, Church Street Ballymena and Camerons, Broughshane Street Ballymena. That’s when they are open. When they are allowed to open again, get there early to avoid the queues.

Currently looking for other independent shops who might sell such a combo of music and story. Anybody know of any such shops still in existence?

Further Reading.

Extract from Introduction.

“This is somewhere between a wee book and a big CD booklet. It is a fusion of fiction and non-fiction. In tune with the times, it offers a fine balance of reality and virtual reality.

The Big Lockdown, that commenced in March 2020, and which hasn’t fully ended seven months later, has been a colossal shock to the world. For many it has been devastating: those who lost loved ones as a direct result of the new flu virus and the many more who suffered indirectly, in a multitude of various ways.

On the brighter side, the weather was wonderful throughout the spring of 2020 and there was a sense of peace and calm. Void of man-made industrial sounds this rare tranquillity allowed the sounds of nature to dominate the air. It was also a glorious opportunity for the likes of me, who’s busy schedule of recent years had not allowed the time to complete and manifest creative ideas that had been swirling around my wee brain for a long time.

It allowed me to develop creative thoughts in writing: it allowed me to record new musical material and rearrange older material. It allowed me to study how best to utilise the internet in order to make my material accessible to an audience who no longer could attend live events.

I worked on several creative projects, but my main focus was on what has resulted in the Wullie Drennan in Lockdown 2020 album and Wee book/Big CD booklet”

Selection of comments so far.

William McC: “It’s amazing. Wonderful to read the thoughts behind all the music…
A great perspective on an Ulster Scots life in Northern Ireland. There’s so much worthwhile information and thoughts in there.
Its a total joy to read. With the CD included it’s a wonderful piece of work and and a great historical document.”

Alister McR: “ Willie’s work here has a timeless quality and draws up from a well of Ulster history.:

Marie B. “This is amazing. I just loved every word of it”.

Anne McL. “A great Christmas present”.

Tam McW: “ Reuch n raa – the wye it wus aye meant tae be”

 

Other News.

My collaboration with rock guitarist David McClean produced an album of rock and folk fusion: 

Willie Drennan Band. Wired Up Again

See Wired Up Again Page on www.williedrennan.org.
There’s nothing else quite like it out there. It was recorded before Lockdown and was due for release in May. Postponed of course, due to you know what. It is now available as well. Look out for the big official release of Wired Up Again. For updates check www.williedrennan.org.

Lest we forget

This morning some members of Dalaradia paid our respects to our fallen friends and comrades at a time of reflection on Remembrance Sunday.

The service was located at Dr Ian Adamsons lampost Dalaradia installed a few months ago. Ian spearheaded the Somme memorials to the 10th, 16th and 36th Divisions, being Vice Chair of the Somme Association and the lamppost’s position adjacent to the Somme Memorial Park on Shore Road is most appropriate.

The lamppost was lit by candle as we will each Remembrance Day as Dalaradia members lay wreaths to remember all those who perished in the World Wars.

Rathcoole Row on Row closing ceremony

Folks on behalf of RATH. Community Group/Dalaradia can we say a huge thank you to everyone who attended the closing of Rathcoole Row on Row today.

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can achieve anything.

Many thanks to George Lunn of the Belfast City Mission for his beautiful religious service.

Many thanks to Danny Kinahan, the Northern Ireland’s first veterans commissioner for his reading.

Thanks to Francis Strain Bagpiping Services

Thanks to young Clarke for his poem reading.

Many thanks to Robert Foster and the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough council for their help.

A massive thank you to volunteers of RATH and Dalaradia for their tireless work. The harder work starts now!

More photos and a video of the event will be shared in the coming days. The garden is an open space and is available to members of the community to lay crosses until Thursday 12th November, please feel free to at any stage.

The main aim of the garden? You can read our initial announcement here – https://www.facebook.com/104568031425159/posts/109030924312203/?extid=0&d=n

🌹 Lest we forget 🌹

We remember

This morning some members of Dalaradia visited graves of our former friends and comrades at a time of reflection in the run up to Remembrance Sunday.

When we come together to reflect, let’s remember our duty to educate future generations of our forebears’ sacrifices.

Honour – Service – Sacrifice

N.Williamson
L.Orr
S.Wasson
N.Anderson

and our dear friend R. Warnock

Rathcoole Primary School

Dalaradia/RATH. Community Group members had the pleasure of hosting some pupils of Rathcoole Primary School & Nursery Unit at Rathcoole Row on Row this morning.

Some children in attendance brought along some beautiful hand painted remembrance rocks they had created in school to lay alongside the poppy crosses. The children’s teacher Mrs Regan shared to them all about the importance of the memorial. A group of P5 children read a poem before having a a minutes silence.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the school for attending and we hope the children enjoyed it, they are a credit to the great work going on in the school.

Education is paramount to the future of our great country.

🌹 Lest we forget 🌹

World War fallen remembered in Rathcoole

https://www.newtownabbeytoday.co.uk/news/people/world-war-fallen-remembered-rathcoole-3022205?fbclid=IwAR3Z7RaUPdQ5g_K_d0CynM2xZMsSyfhGP69VE2NzgwpRHZjg3bAngb_RImk

Rathcoole residents are being encouraged to pay their respects to those who perished during the World Wars at a new memorial project in the estate.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Jim Montgomery, attended the service in Rathcoole alongside party colleague, Cllr Robert Foster.

Rathcoole ‘Row on Row’ is a community project currently underway in the estate.

It has been organised by the RATH Community Group and members of Dalaradia to recognise the men and women who sacrificed their lives in World War One and World War Two.

Due to Government coronavirus restirstions, the Royal British Legion is calling on members of the public to assist their campaigns as the pandemic forces many veteran volunteers to stay at home.

A spokesperson for RATH said: “Many Remembrance services have been cancelled. It is our aim to offer a small space within the estate for people to lay crosses in someone’s memory.

“With the current regulations there won’t be any public service as of yet. When ready, we ask that people lay their cross while social distancing and not to congregate in numbers around the space in the interest of public safety.

“The garden is an open space and our aim is to have it available to members of the community to lay crosses for one week, closing on November 7 at 11am.

“Rathcoole is the second largest housing estate in Europe. It is a travesty our estate does not have a memorial garden in memory of the great men and women of the World Wars. We hope one can be built in the future.”

Rathcoole Row on Row opened on Sunday, November 1. It is located in Rathcoole Park on the field beside the play area.

Poppy boxes are available for members of the community who wish to lay a cross.

Rathcoole Row on Row opening

Folks on behalf of Dalaradia and the RATH. Community Group can we say a huge thank you to everyone who attended the opening of Rathcoole Row on Row today.

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

A special thank you to:
Whiteabbey Royal British Legion
Rathcoole Red Hand Comrades Association
Rathcoole Friends of the Somme
Jim Montgomery (Mayor)
Robert Foster (UUP)
Billy Hutchinson, (PUP)
Paul Hamill (DUP)
Gillian Simpson-Kelly (TUV)
Sons of Kai flute band
Rathcoole Protestant Boys
Cloughfern Young Conquerors
Cloughfern Young Conquerors old boys
Billy Boys Flute Band

Many thanks to The Rev Campbell Dixon MBE, a member of St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast for his beautiful religious service.

Thanks to Francis Strain Bagpiping Services

Thanks to young Louisa for her poem reading.

Many thanks to Robert Foster and the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough council for their help.

A special mention to our very own Nathan who couldn’t attend today due to illness. He was a forerunner in the event and deserves a lot of credit for which he won’t want publicly.

More photos and a video of the event will be shared in the coming days. The garden is an open space and is available to members of the community to lay crosses for one week, please feel free to at any stage.

Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much! Not for glory nor riches, but for our people. We hope to see you at the closing of the garden on November 7th at 11:00am.

The main aim of the garden? You can read our initial announcement here – https://www.facebook.com/104568031425159/posts/109030924312203/?extid=0&d=n

🌹 Lest we forget 🌹