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Mike Nesbitt puts his penny's worth in at 1916 event

By Staff Reporter

Published 07/04/2016

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt, historian Jason Burke, Professor Graham Walker of Queen’s University, Professor Geoffrey Sloan of the University of Reading and Steve Aiken before yesterday’s event in Dublin
Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt, historian Jason Burke, Professor Graham Walker of Queen’s University, Professor Geoffrey Sloan of the University of Reading and Steve Aiken before yesterday’s event in Dublin
Mr Nesbitt gives his speech
Some of those attending the occasion at the Royal Irish Academy

The Ulster Unionist leader has told an Easter Rising event in Dublin that the bombing of the family business ultimately taught him greater tolerance.

Mike Nesbitt was speaking at an event examining the 1916 Rising from a unionist perspective.

He told his audience that in January 1973 "the family business was blown up by the Provisional IRA".

"Would I be standing here if that had not happened? Or would I be the third generation Nesbitt running the family linen business in Belfast city centre?" he asked.

"I cannot answer that, but I can reflect on the blank invoice I keep framed on my study wall. It reads 'A Nesbitt & Co Ltd Linen Manufacturers.' And below that: 'The deduction of odd pence is not allowed'.

"I think that bottom line sums up our problem. If we hang in for the last penny, if we squeeze our competitor until the pips squeak, we do no service to building the future our children deserve."

He said what was missing from NI politics was "the spirit of generosity, right down to the deduction of the odd political penny".

Belfast Telegraph

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