Thousands attend annual Scarva sham fight

Thousands of spectators attend the annual Sham Fight and Royal Black Institution parade in Scarva, Co. Down. Credit: Presseye

The leader of one of the loyal orders has said the correct story of Northern Ireland's past must be kept alive.

Rev William Anderson, Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Preceptory was speaking at the annual July 13th Scarva sham fight which thousands of people attended.

The County Down village plays host to the festivities which sees actors playing the Protestant King William and Catholic King James.

King William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is marked by the Protestant loyal orders in Northern Ireland every year, with bonfires lit on July 11, Orange Order parades on July 12 and the sham fight organised by the Royal Black Preceptory on July 13.

Addressing those who gathered there, Mr Anderson said the "true legacy of the past" must be taught to children in schools.

Some within the Protestant and Unionist tradition in Northern Ireland have contended that the security forces and their role in the Troubles are being vilified, and members of terrorist groups such as the Provisional IRA are not being held to account.

The Government has proposed legislation which will offer an effective immunity from prosecution in exchange for giving information for Troubles crimes.

However, it has been opposed by most as closing down the last opportunity for justice for bereaved families.

Mr Anderson described 2022 as a special year, with the full gathering able to proceed after two years of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, adding: "It is good to be back."

In his address from the platform in Scarva, he focused on the legacy of the Troubles.

He spoke about the need for resistance against attempts to rewrite the past, saying: "We owe it to the next generation."

He described the gathering as an opportunity to remember those who died in the two world wars, conflicts and acts of terrorism.

Describing a peace "altered by those with a political agenda", he urged resistance to "ensure that the true legacy of our past is taught to the children of today".

"We all have our part to play in ensuring that the correct story of our past is kept alive. We owe it to the next generation," he said.

He said it was "a very confusing world, a world that considers that it needs to rewrite the truths and unshakeable facts that have stood the test of time".

He added: "Today, may I encourage you all to be proud of your past, to live in the present, content with your life as you share it with others, and to be confident of your future?"


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