Lisburn Councillor Robbie Butler and Jenny Palmer have used a traditional Ulster Unionist Party Burns Night Supper to encourage the community “to get involved with Northern Ireland’s rich Ulster-Scots culture.
The two UUP councillors issued their joint appeal after they were guest speakers at the North Antrim UUP Association’s successful Burns Night events when dozens of members and guests packed Clough Masonic Hall, near Ballymena, for the annual supper.
Members and friends from across the North Antrim constituency and beyond made the event one of the best-ever social and cultural UUP functions in recent months.
The Toast to the Immortal Memory of poet Rabbie Burns was given by Councillor Butler from the Lagan Valley UUP constituency.
The Toast to the Lasses was proposed by a leading North Antrim Association member, while the Response from the Lasses given by Lisburn Councillor Jenny Palmer.
In their joint statement, Councillors Butler and Palmer said that the various events held around Northern Ireland and further afield to commemorate the life and legacy of Rabbie Burns were examples of “rich cultural expression”.
They added: “We both had the pleasure and honour of roles in this important cultural evening in North Antrim and to chat to the large crowd of friends and members.
“It turned out to be a very memorable night for all who attended with an excellent programme of entertainment, which included a range of musical entertainment, with the skirl of the bagpipes, especially when the ceremony of piping the haggis into the hall took place.
“The highlights of the evening were a number of recitals of Robert Burns’ renowned poetry.
“We congratulate everyone for all their efforts in making the evening such an excellent spectacle of culture enjoyed by the community at large.
“We wanted to use this traditional annual Burns Night Supper to encourage the entire community to get involved with their rich Ulster-Scots heritage and culture.”
Lisburn’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Alexander Redpath also attended a Burns Night event with the Ulster Orchestra.
“I was delighted to attend our Burns Night celebration,” said Mr Redpath, who has recently been appointed as a Director of the Ulster Orchestra.
“The event was extremely well attended and successfully melded together a variety of musical styles.”