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Glenn Barr - a plea for sanity

GLENN BARR was once a leading political spokesman for the UDA and a former Assemblyman for the old Vanguard Party. He was the man who in effect led the 1974 Ulster Workers' Council strike which brought down the Sunningdale Agreement. He is on record as describing himself as an Ulster nationalist, "neither a second-class Englishman nor a third-class Irishman but a first class Ulsterman". In recent years, since giving up active politics, Mr Barr has been involved in community employment projects in Londonderry.


Glenn Ban was one of the first Ulster politicians to consider seriously the suggestion of Ulster independence. The seminal document, Beyond the Religious Divide, was largely his handiwork. Instead of bluster about backs to the wall or eating grass rather than surrender, this document sought to find an honourable way out of Ulster's troubles. It sought to promote a common identity for all the people of Ulster of whatever religious persuasion.
Sadly, the organisation which hatched Beyond the Religious Divide never promoted it to its membership. Glenn Barr blames this to a large extent on Humphrey Atkins who gave little encouragement to it. He had always predicted an upsurge in loyalist violence if initiatives from the Protestant community were ignored. Today the UDA's military wing is widening the religious divide through its renewed campaign of assassinations - which are perceived as sectarian, even in cases where victims have undisputed republican connections.


If young people in the Protestant community are beginning to hero worship the UFF and the UVF, in the belief that the only way forward is to act in exactly the same manner as the the IRA, then we are in deep trouble. Mr Barr is worried that Ulster will face a holocaust within the next three to four years if political action is not taken to turn young people back from a religious war. He believes that the basic problem is constitutional. He argues for a fairer society in which all the people could participate in the responsibilities and decisions of state. This will need the withdrawal of `the two protagonists'. Westminster and Leinster House.

Ulster Nation agrees with Glenn Barr. Like him, we wish to avoid the situation becoming so unstable as to plunge Ulster into the horrors which are happening in Bosnia today. We welcome his plea for sanity.

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