March 16, 2016

#NorthernIreland2016 Interview Series - Aaron Callan

Aaron is from Limavady where He went to primary school and secondary school. From there He went to Ulster University and Queen's University Belfast. He is currently an Ulster Unionist Councillor for Limavady on the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

Brian John Spencer: "When did you first learn about the Easter Rising of 1916?" Aaron Callan:
"At home and then secondary school. Our house was always full of books which is where I read about the Easter Rising."
BJS: "Do the men, the act or the stated ideals in the proclamation mean anything to you?" AC: 
"No they don't."
BJS: "When did you first learn about the Battle of the Somme?" AC: 
"At school."
BJS: "Does this act, the men and their determination to show their loyalty to Britain mean anything to you?" AC: 
"I think their sacrifice should be remembered. It was a sad loss of life and wiped out a generation here in Northern Ireland."
BJS: "As a (British/Irish/Northern Irish*) person, is the 1916 Rising important to you and your sense of identity and sense of belonging on this island?" AC: 
BJS: "As a (British/Irish/Northern Irish*) person, is the Somme offensive important to you and your sense of identity and sense of belonging on this island?" AC: 
"It is something I mark every year on the anniversary, however, it is not overly important in terms of my identity. I believe it is an event we all should mark as so many lost their lives."
BJS: "Will you be commemorating or celebrating either of these two events in April and July of this year respectively?" AC: 
"I will be commemorating the battle of the Somme as I do every year."
BJS: "Are you happy with the series of commemorative events put on by the Irish State? And what do you think of Arlene Foster's take on the events of Easter 1916 (she has refused to attend any commemorations)?" AC: 
"I would agree that it is important to reflect on our history and to understand how events shaped the present day."
BJS: "As a person on (or from) the island are you happy with the where we are now at in terms of culture, cosmopolitanism and broad-mindedness?" AC: 
"I am happy that we are mature enough to look critically at events like the Easter Rising which seen children and innocent people killed."
BJS: "What are your hopes for the future of this divided province and island?" AC: 
"I hope we can see Northern Ireland become a world class country for positive reasons rather than negative ones. It would be good to see the Republic of Ireland join the Commonwealth at some point in the future too."
BJS: "Please share any further thoughts these questions may have stimulated." AC: 
"During these significant anniversary years it is important that we reflect and analysis the events that shape us as a people and our respective countries."
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