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Orangeman's support for 'Easter Rising' stuns fellow brethren at Order meeting

By Rachel Martin

Published 18/01/2016

Co Down’s former Orange Grand Master Victor Harrison
Co Down’s former Orange Grand Master Victor Harrison

A top Orangeman has described how he stunned a lodge meeting by declaring his support for the Easter Rising.

Victor Harrison had to quickly explain that it had nothing to do with the rebellion of 1916.

Mr Harrison, who was the Co Down Grand Master for 17 years, stressed his comments referred to an earlier - and much more religious - rising.

He accused the media and the republican movement of "taking over" what he describes as the true meaning of the Easter Rising.

The Ballywalter man said: "To me there is only one true meaning of the two words Easter Rising and I am proud to say that I support that.

"I thought long and hard about it and decided that I do support the Easter Rising.

"The Lord was crucified and he rose again on the Sunday, hence the reason I support the Easter Rising.

"It's not the Easter Rising that everyone keeps talking about but it's important that people know the true meaning of Easter Rising."

The retired construction worker was elected as Co Down Grand Master for 17 years running before standing down from the position in 2014.

However, Mr Harrison remains widely respected in the Order and said that others at the meeting agreed with his remarks.

He said he supports peaceful loyalism and said he disagreed with things many unionist politicians had said during the flag protests.

The Easter Rebellion, also widely known as the Easter Rising, saw armed rebels take over buildings in Dublin in a bid to end British rule in Ireland.

It resulted in the unconditional surrender of rebel forces and execution of most leaders. One hundred years on, republicans are about to commemorate the uprising's centenary.

On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916 around 1,200 rebels took over buildings in Dublin city centre. They based themselves at the General Post Office and one of the movement's leaders, Patrick Pearse, read a Proclamation of the Republic.

In trying to regain control, the British Army reported casualties of 116 dead, 368 wounded and nine missing.

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