Och, C’mon in Gerry, what a beautiful big horse y’have there.

Belfast Barman is the first person we’ve published in response to our call for Unionist bloggers. He has an interesting and cautionary tale to share. There will be others to follow.

I awoke this morning to a better understanding of my own political leanings, and for that Gerry Adams, I thank you.

I was raised unionist in the same Braniel estate that Michael Stone hails from, I spent my childhood braining myself with mis-caught union jack batons bought for 50p from a wheelie bin on the newtownards road for the 12th each year…

I voted Sinn Fein this year. Admittedly, not just Sinn Fein, but some of their candidates were high in my preference votes. If my now-departed grandfather knew this, I’d be in for a clout.

Why though? Since that child left the Braniel, I have seen first hand what minorities suffer, I have seen discrimination and have had plenty of abuse directed at myself for not being the norm. I have gay friends, I have muslim colleagues, I am an atheist, I know women who had abortions after rapes…

All things that the DUP stand against. When Gerry Adams explained the “entire republican strategy” of using equality as a Trojan horse, it suddenly made sense why I had steered away from the family tradition, why I had voted for a party I was raised being told were “terrorists and murderers.”

I have seen DUP frontmen insult so many of the people and issues that I hold dear whilst seeing Sinn Fein front people speak out for womens rights, seeing progressive new-blood MLA’s standing front and centre at Gay Pride events, inclusive religious events being hosted by SF councillors. Sinn Fein have preached and practiced equality, and I respect that and appreciate it.

If it is part of some great strategy, so what…if we get the equality we deserve, what is the problem exactly?

Northern Ireland will not revert to Irish control without a referendum, that much is clear…

As clear now as it has ever been. If that referendum is held next week, next year or a decade or more away, the will of the people of these united 6 counties will hold the direction of our collective future. Whether or not we live in a more equal society should hold little sway over the decision of secession…

If a fair society is a side effect of a future referendum, so be it.

The fact that unionist leaders are so vociferous in opposition to Gerry Adams tactical revelation shows perhaps that this plan of his will do nothing but ingratiate their cause into the goodwill of wider society, people like me.

With the sheer frequency of DUP societal faux pas laying a persistent spotlight on that which is unequal within our community, in such an insidious manner, proclaiming their own culture is under threat whilst slinging dirt at anything other than their own identity, this is not a party I can support.

I consider myself pro union because I think it is more beneficial for our country…however now I see that if we could make Northern Ireland equal for all who live within it, no matter colour, creed, persuasion, gender or belief and the ONLY cost of that is a change of passport and a different tax pot to send my hard earned money to, then it’s a price I would consider paying.

Equality is the Trojan horse that has got under my skin and convinced me that there are worse things in life than a united Ireland, the DUP could tackle this head on with embracing the concept of an equal and diverse society, thus nullifying The Great Republican Strategy™ however the unionist response has been to treat “Equality” as a dirty word.

Sílim go gcaithfidh mé vóta ar son Shinn Féin mar sin de.