Apprentice Boys leaders voice support for anti-protocol rallies

The leadership of the Apprentice Boys of Derry has urged members of the organisation to take part in protests against the NI Proticol.

Describing the Protocol - introduced as part of the UK government’s Brexit deal with the EU - as “an insidious threat”, the ABOD also said government should not return to Stormont until it is removed.

The statement was signed by Governor Graeme Stenhouse and General Secretary Billy Moore.

It said: “Northern Ireland has remained an integral part of the United Kingdom for 100 years, though our heritage was forged long before at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne. Our British heritage and our British identity are one of the common bonds we share and cherish and as One Nation we unite in Remembrance of those to whom we owe everything.

The ABOD General Committee has called for support for anti-protocol rallies

“The immoral imposition of an Irish Sea border has created an unjust separation from our kith and kin. In Northern Ireland our place as equal citizens under one authority, our Sovereign’s Parliament, has been compromised.

“Through the Northern Ireland Protocol, the European Union, has an undemocratic authority to make rules and regulations that have a profound impact on our daily lives. This authority is incompatible with Northern Ireland as an integral and equal part of the United Kingdom. We unquestionably face an insidious threat to our citizenship and our place within the United Kingdom. The time to take a stand is now.”

The statement went on to say that the orgamisation’s Officers and members of General Committee “encourage our members to support all peaceful anti-protocol rallies taking place throughout Northern Ireland”, adding: “It is for our generation to demonstrate our unwavering opposition to this affront to democracy. In the upcoming election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, we implore our members and their families to ensure they are registered to vote, and to vote for Unionist candidates who are determined to use every legal means to remove this barrier. Voter apathy is not an option.

“The merchants of gloom and despair would have us believe there is nothing that can be done – nothing will be done sitting at home on election day. Let’s join together and make our voice and opposition to the Protocol heard loud and proud at rallies around the country. And vote for Unionists opposed to the protocol on May 5th.”

The ABOD statement concluded: “There can be no return of Stormont until the protocol is removed, and democracy and our equal place in the United Kingdom restored. United We Stand.”