A Dromore man, who earlier this year gigged with his band on Belfast’s peace lines to promote reconciliation, has slated those responsible for the spontaneous rendition of the National Anthem at a Stormont service last week.
After learning of events, Craig Hutton, lead vocalist with The White Goose, called on Sammy Morrison to take his ‘bigotry and opportunism somewhere else’.
Addressing the TUV press officer on social media, Craig continued: “You used the death of millions of those who have fought, present and past, for freedom, to make a political statement for the representatives of Sinn Fein - who crossed their line in order to offer the hand of friendship.”
The band which was birthed in Dromore Youth For Christ, earlier this year released an album which has been endorsed by both Authentic Media and Compassion. Their most recent song ‘Belfast Nights’ brings together a bodhran and Lambeg drum.
“They are played together in praise of God, proclaiming togetherness for Ireland,” said Craig. “We sense the song will bring healing to many who have been hurt and broken in this land. The message is ‘enough is enough’ - enough bigotry, sectarianism, racism, drug dealing, hate crimes, anti social behaviour.
“Sinn Fein had come to the Service in a gesture to say ‘we are trying to move forward’. I wanted my friends connected with Loyalism to know I wasn’t going to take it - to allow people to put others down - these Unionists need to learn to leave the past in the past.
“I didn’t know Lance Corporal Stephen McKee who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012, but I feel a connection to him as he went to my school - Dromore High, and I just think - would he have liked it that his death was used for a political stunt? I don’t know, but I wonder. Really - it wasn’t remembering the dead.
“I’ve lost loved ones and I could stay bitter at life and angry at those who took my loved ones away, but the only person who gets hurt if there is no forgiveness, is yourself.”
Referring to members of his own family who died during the Great War Sammy Morrison said: “I am all too well aware of the suffering during World War One. However, when I wear my Poppy I don’t think of them. I think of Enniskillen.
“That’s not a choice I made. That’s a choice which the IRA made when they bombed a Remembrance service.”
Two of Mr Morrison’s family, an aunt and uncle, were injured in this atrocity.
“That ceremony was to have closed with the singing of the National Anthem, but IRA terrorists decided that they would never get to do that,” he continued.
“I genuinely didn’t know that there wasn’t a plan to include the National Anthem until I was handed the order of service. In the few moments I made the decision to sing the National Anthem.
“I believed that the only reason for its exclusion was the presence of Sinn Fein/IRA members - an organisation which continue to justify the 1987 bombing.”
Concluding he said: “I hope Mr Hutton will reflect on his comments after reading the background of what I did.”