The Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution has warned that the forthcoming Scottish independence vote will have far-reaching consequences for the people of Scotland and for other UK citizens.
Millar Farr told Institution members in Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh on Saturday that the four home countries have together, as one nation, worked for the benefit of all.
“There has been unity of purpose; a common goal as we worked together to build a better quality of life for everyone irrespective of which part of the nation they come from. That common purpose provides unity and strength, and if the Scottish people were to decide on independence, that would weaken what we presently have.
“We regard ourselves as British, something we proudly cherish; all of us firmly believe our future lies within the UK. Politically, culturally and economically it provides the best opportunity for a secure future for our families and future generations.”
Several thousand RBP and band members paraded in the Fermanagh village, with 25 preceptories from Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal joining 24 preceptories from Enniskillen and Lisnaskea districts and visiting contingents from other parts of Northern Ireland. Thirty bands headed the preceptories.
Mr Farr, in his address, reaffirmed that the Black Institution was “Christ-centred and Bible-based”.
“The blessings we enjoy from holy scriptures play an important role in our lives, and for the work and witness of the Black Institution. The Protestant Reformed faith is central to all that we believe and do and it is by our commitment to it that we shape our lives and actions.”
Mr Farr, referring to the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, said the war dramatically influenced those who served in the armed forces and their families.
“This terrible conflict resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of service personnel and horrific injuries to many more. It was an example of man’s inhumanity to man and highlighted the sacrifice those who stood for ‘King and Country’ at that time were prepared to make.
“Throughout Ulster and, indeed Ireland, war memorials bear names of those who did not return. Those who went to war saw it as a duty to serve, and if necessary, sacrifice their life for the cause they believed in.”