From the Union to a new Ireland

Former British soldier and Ulster Unionist party officer Glenn Bradley spoke in the Duncairn Complex in November with senior Republican Seán Spike Murray, exploring his transition from a loyalist heartland and unionism to joining civic nationalist group Ireland’s Future and planning for a New Ireland.

Glenn Bradley talked through his own personal history from being in the British Army operating in the North, his involvement in the negotiations of the Good Friday Agreement, and his hopes for the future around the need for true reconciliation and to address Unionist fears.

Glenn also spoke about how ultimately the interests of all people on this island are best served by coming together and ending Britain’s misrule of the North.

The retired British soldier is among a growing number of unionists who are now receptive to the idea of constitutional change.

When the Irish government establishes a Citizens’ Assembly on Irish Unity the voice of unionists and progressives in their community are needed for effectual change.

Bradley had his road to Damascus moment with the result of the Brexit referendum which focused in his mind that the only solution for the people of this island is the cause of Irish Unity. “For me Brexit totally tore apart any illusion that we were in a union of equals – Scotland and Northern Ireland forced out of Europe against their will”.

Seán Murray, who grew up 300 metres from Glenn, one in Clonard the other in Woodvale, talked of combating “genuine unionist fears” of what may be done unto them in a new Ireland. He stressed that “we don’t want another generation to experience what we experienced and live through what we lived through”.

That “the Good Friday Agreement gives a roadmap to affect change” to build a shared Ireland where young people will “never have to go on active service” nor will “have to spend the best years of their lives in a prison cell.”