Who dares to speak of Ninety Eight?
Who blushes at the name?
When cowards mock the patriots fate,
Who hangs his head in shame?
He’s all a knave or half a slave,
Who slights his Country thus,
But a true man, like you, man,
Will fill his glass with us.
For far too long working class Protestants, especially Presbyterians, have been afraid to speak of ninety eight, with the result that sectarian Irish republicans have been able to totally rewrite and claim unopposed, the history of the 1798 Presbyterian inspired and Protestant led rising in the cause of civil and religious liberty, for Working Class Presbyterians and Roman Catholics in Ireland. Last week’s so called Henry Joy McCraken commemoration parade by dissident republicans, was nothing more than a disgraceful misuse of Henry Joy McCrakens memory to deliberately create a confrontation with Working class Protestants, at Clifton Street Orange Hall. Impartial observers must have surely noticed that, the windows and doors of the Orange hall are permanently boarded up and barricaded, the outside walls are splattered with palnt, from repeated intolerant republican attacks, yet strangely the supposedly offended and supposedly disrespected Roman Catholic Church across the road, suffers none of this hardship. I believe that Henry Joy and all the rest of the Protestant leaders and Ulster Volunteers, who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1798, would be disgusted to know that their sacrifice was now being misused by dissident republicans, aided by the republican supporting parades commission, to cause division at this working class interface. Henry Joy McCraken went to great lengths to try to recruit Roman Catholics into the Ulster People’s Army of 1798, unfortunately the vast majority of the Roman Catholic Defenders who agreed to fight, failed to turn up at the battles of Antrim and Saintfield, and deserted the night before the battle of Ballynahinch.