As printed in today's News Letter Ulster Covenant Centenary suppliment
On the 28th September 1912, men and women in Ulster united in an unprecedented event in modern British history. Ulster Day 1912 and its documents created the foundations of 20th century Unionism and shaped the politics of the subsequent 100 years, including the creation of Northern Ireland.
On the centenary of the establishment of our country, as we start the process of building its second century, we must ensure that we celebrate and commemorate this pivotal moment in the history of the United Kingdom. I am very proud to be the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party during this centenary year. My Party, stewarded by Edward Carson and James Craig, gave leadership to the Ulster People during one of the most turbulent times in our history.
I would like to commend the News Letter for producing this souvenir supplement on the Ulster Covenant, which we are delighted to sponsor
The Proposals of the Third Home Rule Bill fundamentally changed the character of the United Kingdom, and those that opposed that Bill did so to maintain the Union, and to protect the citizen. In the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Newcastle, opposition to Home Rule was as fervent as it was in Belfast. 2 million people in Great Britain signed the British Covenant in opposition to Home Rule; Ulster was not alone, it was not abandoned.
Today we see the Union more secure than at any stage in our past, governed primarily by a Northern Ireland Government as an integral part of the United Kingdom. The dream of our fore fathers, of a prosperous Northern Ireland, being at peace with itself, within the Union is closer now than ever.
As we face the next hundred years, let us pledge ourselves afresh to the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, let us pledge ourselves to the service of our whole community and let us strengthen the foundations of our country, that generations to come will look back on and say 2012 was the year when Ulster Unionism continued to build on the good work that was started in 1912 and create this new prosperous, modern state at ease with itself and its neighbours.
As I said at the Ulster Unionist Party conference last weekend, we all have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of the giants of Unionism. Let’s not waste that chance to learn from our history, culture & heritage and look forward to Northern Ireland`s second century with confidence and pride.
I wish everyone a peaceful and dignified celebration that Carson & Craig would be proud of.