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Broxburn Loyalist speaks out
I’M TOMMY. I am from West Lothian and I
play the flute with the Broxburn
Loyalists Flute Band. We are a
Blood and Thunder band.
I first became interested in bands when my uncle gave me an old flute which he had on his wall. My family encouraged me as I managed to play a tune or two after only a few weeks. After a few months, the family noticed I had a talent for the flute. To this day they still enjoy listening to my music. Indeed, for my 21st birthday I asked for my very own flute. I then taught myself how to play the concert flute.
My father introduced me to the Broxburn
Loyalists Flute Band one Saturday. In
the early 70s, we used to have a local Rangers Supporters Club in the town.
Sadly it is no longer there. However,
the band would play before matches and I would go down to listen.
I joined the band when I was about 13 years
of age, of my own accord. My Dad
never would force me to do anything and left me to make up my own mind.
I remember being told after a couple of
years that the band’s objective was to go to the World Flute Band Championship
one year. Our Band Sergeant believed we had a flute core second to
none. This would have been a dream
I still recall my first trip to Ulster.
I had mixed emotions. On the
one hand I was so proud to be marching the streets of Ulster.
On the other hand, however, I felt very scared.
I thought that the whole band would be wiped out by a bomb!
Every year we go to Ulster we see more and
more restrictions being put in place.
I have friends who have their estates
attacked and their homes burnt out. Sinn Féin stand and watch our parades and try to intimidate
us. However, we know to look
forward and disregard them. Their
objective is to ethnically-cleanse us from society. I have a growing fear that
one day our democratic right to parade will be taken away from us.
When I am out with the band I feel proud.
However, I also feel our faith and culture is being rubbished by certain
people. Unless we keep our
traditions then we could lose everything that our forefathers fought for many
years ago. I am a Protestant night
and day and realise we could do a lot better for our faith but we carry a lot of
dead wood who are keeping us back.
I do not have a problem (and neither does
the band) with anyone from another religion.
As long as they let me practise my religion in the way I choose. However,
I feel Sinn Féin/IRA is seeking to destroy my culture by various means.
They have certainly used the world media to side with ‘poor
I respect any man's religion.
However using the Roman Catholic church name to promote a ‘United
Ireland’ is wrong. To murder and
destroy peoples lives is also wrong.
To conclude, I’ve a few questions to pose.
Not so long ago, the USA declared war on world terrorists.
Why have they not shut down or hunted down the IRA?
Are there one set of rules for some terrorists and another set of rules
for others? Is the US military now going to get the same treatment in Iraq the
British forces received in Ulster for 30 years?
Are we going to see more bombs, drive by shootings and the like?
Why is it that Catholics in the South respect the marching season?
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