The long-time former pastor of Londonderry’s Free Presbyterian Congregation, Rev Ian Brown, has said the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic, stabbed Britain in the back with their “dastardly” Easter Rising, which was borne of a “poisonous” republican ideology, he traced from the Fenian dynamiters of the 1880s to the Provo campaign of the 1970s.
Rev. Brown, who pastors at the Martyrs’ Memorial Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast, made the comments during an Easter sermon, as millions of people were commemorating the 1916 rebellion around the globe.
“For Irish republicans...Easter is a time to remember the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the Irish Republican Army, and to celebrate all of the dastardly deeds that they have done, with a particular tip of the hat to the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916.
“There’s an old republican saying that goes, ‘England’s extremity is Ireland’s opportunity,’ and they fully exploited that particular principle during the First World War when Britain was engaged fighting against the brutal push of the German Kaiser’s Armies.”
Rev Brown accused the 1916 rebels of stabbing the United Kingdom in the back.
“And with Britain’s face turned onto the battlefields of Flanders and of France, this gave the Irish republicans back home the opportunity they wanted to treacherously stab Britain in the back.
“But not only that it must be considered that since many of their fellow Irishmen, including those that had been in the ranks of the Irish Volunteers, since many of them had signed up and were serving in the British Army over in the battlefields of World War One, they were betraying all of those men and their families too.”
Rev Brown said the rebellion was the outworking of an “ideology that has polluted and poisoned the history of Ireland for many generations and still infests the mind-set today.”
“Let’s take a few steps in history back to between 1881 and 1885,” he said.
“The Irish Republican Brotherhood mounted a dynamite campaign during which it planted bombs in railway stations and other public buildings in Great Britain.
“Quite a number of innocent people were injured at the time although the only people killed were Irish Republican Brotherhood members who died when their own bomb exploded prematurely.
“But this brand of physical force republicanism was revived in the earlier years of the 20th Century and came to the fore in the Easter Rebellion of 1916 but you can keep on tracing the same poisonous ideology because it continues through the Irish War of Independence, the Civil War, the collaboration with the Nazis in World War Two, the sectarian attacks on small Protestant communities remaining in the south and then the border campaign and it emerged again in the latest IRA campaign that started in 1969.”