IRISH President Michael D Higgins has issued an unprecedented personal invitation to every protestant and unionist in Northern Ireland to join him in a national debate about a future shape of a reunified Ireland.
Speaking after the ‘Ireland’s Future’ letter recently sent to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, signed by a thousand nationalists trying to kick start the united Ireland debate, he has articulated in glowing terms what awaits unionists if they agree.
“If you say you’re British, Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist or Ulster-Scot, then that’s good enough for us, false consciousness theory does not exist in our jurisdiction.
“Defining Protestants based on ignorance and prejudice and presuming we know better than you, who you are, is just not what we are about.
“Coercing Protestants out of unacceptable historical narratives, especially those linked to affiliation with the former overlord and using the long centuries of oppression as a moral cudgel is something we would never do.
“We have moved on from our violent and troubled past and none of that lies dormant within society, I can give you my word on that right here and now.
“We respect the ‘otherness’ of your sense of collective identity as much as we respect any other idea of Irish we have, as any Ulster Protestant from the southern Irish counties will tell you!
“There’s no such thing as keeping your head down, fearful of being a victim of bigotry or being branded a bigot for trying to express your identity.
“A chattier bunch you’ll not meet, community activists, poets and intellectuals from the Orange, British and Protestant traditions have been holding us to account for a century.
“Speaking their minds freely, they have us in the elite dissected every-which-way but Sunday, demanding the highest international standards of personal liberty from us. They keep us right and we love them for it.
“We love Derry and Londonderry equally.
“To go through the issues raised in the famous Protestant doggerel, there might still be a Pope in Rome, but there’s certainly not one in Ireland anymore.
“Our chapels should be nearly silent enough for you now; the average age of nuns and priests is 74 and they’ll all be dead in a year for two.
“And those with rosary beads hardly have the nerve to pull them out in public- so I can positively promise you that everyday truly will be the Twelfth of July, in the new Ireland,” concluded President Higgins.
“Aye right,” responded Leitrim Ulster-Scots equality activist Sawney McCleaver who dismissed the “invitation” as a publicity stunt.