The “strong bond” between the people of Ulster and Scotland was emphasised today in Ballyclare by the Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, Millar Farr.
He said that in two weeks time “the people of Scotland will be faced with a choice which will have far reaching consequences for them as individuals and for the remainder of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
“The Union which binds us together as one Nation has brought great benefits for all and though we come from four different countries with our own unique and individual needs we are all British and proud of it,” he said.
“There has always been a strong bond between Scotland and Northern Ireland in terms of our culture, commerce and business interests. The problems which we face are common to our Scottish kinsfolk as well as ourselves.”
He said the “people of Scotland are our nearest neighbours” and it is “our desire to maintain these close links with them and together work towards a more prosperous and successful future for all, but we certainly want to do that in the context of the
present United Kingdom”.
He said the result of the forthcoming referendum “will be a milestone in the history of the United Kingdom”.
“If the result is a No vote and the margin is substantial, the United Kingdom will continue in its present form and hopefully we will not have to face such a situation again, or at least not for a considerable period of time,” he said.
“However, if the vote is in favour of an independent Scotland, this would have serious implications on all aspects of life. No one can foresee the effect such a result would have in terms of the political or financial standing of Scotland or the remainder of the United Kingdom on the world stage, but whether we like it or not, it would bring about substantial change.
“I trust that those who have to make the choice will carefully consider all potential consequences before casting their vote.”
He added that, in the outcome of a ‘Yes’ vote’ “there are those who will use it to agitate for a similar referendum in the remaining countries and regions of the United Kingdom”.
“Those who would advocate such a course would not have the best interests of this Nation at heart, rather they would be seeking
to destroy what we all cherish and what has served us well for centuries.” he said.
“Unity brings strength, strength provides security, and security is what is required in the present volatile and unsafe world,” he said.
“The choice is in the hands of the people of Scotland and today from this platform I urge the Sir Knights of that great country, with their families and friends, to turn out and show their overwhelming support for the continuation of the Union, a course which will bring stability and prosperity to all our citizens and the generations yet to come.”