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Botched Brexit has shattered the idea of a ‘United’ Kingdom

Gavin Esler


Gavin Esler’s ancestors were among the hundreds of thousands of people who signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912. It referred to their ‘equal citizenship’ of the UK, but the recent behaviour of the DUP and Tories shows how mistaken this was, he argues

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Protest: An anti-protocol rally on the Shankill Road in Belfast last June. Credit: Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Protest: An anti-protocol rally on the Shankill Road in Belfast last June. Credit: Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The signing of the Ulster Convenant in 1912. Credit: Old Ireland in Colour

The signing of the Ulster Convenant in 1912. Credit: Old Ireland in Colour

Gavin Esler in Belfast city centre

Gavin Esler in Belfast city centre

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Protest: An anti-protocol rally on the Shankill Road in Belfast last June. Credit: Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Drive up the Shankill Road in west Belfast and you come to a series of billboards about the Troubles. As you would expect, they tell stories from a loyalist perspective, featuring atrocities committed by republicans.

Enter the building behind the billboards and you find a well-curated display of loyalist prisoners’ experiences. There’s a realistic mock-up of a cell with a few home comforts, including rock LPs, an old Dansette-style record player and posters that would be at home in any boy’s bedroom of the 1970s and 80s.The artwork by the prisoners is also what you would expect: red hand and Union flags, and the UVF motto ‘For God and Ulster’.


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