So the Jamie Bryson/Jim Allister bandwagon rolled into Enniskillen last week to lead a loyalist protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol, aka the Irish Sea Border.

You may well say hasn’t Fermanagh suffered enough, but I couldn’t possibly comment!

Joking aside, I wondered what sort of support they would get here. There have been protests in areas of Belfast over the summer, not massive in number but it should be acknowledged that within loyalism in the east there is a sense of betrayal.

But it didn’t seem that there was the same sense of fury about the Protocol in Unionism here in the west; yes, I’m sure many Unionists are naturally inclined to oppose it, but there hasn’t been the indignation and anger we’ve seen in other places. So it wasn’t surprising that the protest in Enniskillen was low-key, with a few hundred turning out.

I felt there were more than I was expecting, but it wasn’t a great turnout by any means. From videos and photos on social media and other outlets, I did see some local people but my impression was they were in the minority.

I was asked recently at an event that I attended if opposition to the Irish Sea Border was an economic issue or a constitutional one. I suppose there’s an element of both; but as images of the Enniskillen rally showed a couple of loyalists bands and people parading with large Union Jacks, I’m guessing difficulties over the import of Cumberland sausages wasn’t foremost on their mind.

The Protocol is certainly an issue that Messrs Allister and Bryson feel is a constitutional threat; and their opposition is a vehicle for opposition to the Good Friday Agreement. Jamie says the Protocol’s “betrayal of Northern Ireland has its roots in the Agreement".

Furthermore, in his speech about the Protocol at Enniskillen, Mr. Bryson managed to reference the Enniskillen bomb and said it was the type of violence that the Irish Government sought to “weaponise” for political leverage. I’m not aware of Bryson giving the people of Enniskillen much support before, but I certainly recall visits to the town on Remembrance Sunday from Taoisigh Enda Kenny, Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin to show solidarity with people who suffered.

So, it’s particularly nauseating to see his opportunism in using the bombing in this way. In that context, whatever your view of the southern Government, it was a low blow.

Opponents of the Protocol, of course, are entitled to their stance and to express their point of view but let’s not kid ourselves about where their opposition is coming from.

The fact that they came to Fermanagh for their rally also resonated as this area has been well aware of the impact for a Border for a century. Remember, it’s a hundred years ago that the nationalist community in this county felt its own sense of betrayal about a Border when they felt alienated from the new Free State.

Like today’s debate, partition created a Border which was controversial politically but also created hardship and practical difficulties for people in their everyday lives.

In an interesting and pertinent exercise, some of those effects have been recalled in a recent project called “Clones – Bordering on Brexit” by the town’s Family Resource Centre.

The stories from what was described as a “forgotten land” where isolated communities were left behind by Belfast and Dublin have been told by people on both sides of the Border and from both sides of the religious divide.

One man remembered his grandfather telling him of his recollection of partition in 1921 which created a Border that was “like a hatchet coming down and destroying trust, relationships and neighbourliness”.

Farmers were often cut off from their own land, in some cases having to travel miles to get to their cattle. People travelled to a different jurisdiction to attend their church, businesses lost customers, parishes, even individual homes were cut in two by a Border; and Customs posts were set up to monitor traffic.

There were different prices, different currencies, different laws and so on. And yet, the overwhelming image is that people “just got on with it".

I recall my father bringing us on trips to Bundoran in the summer, and having to get papers to produce at the customs in Belleek and Ballyshannon to get a “bond”, a little triangular sticker to put on the car to show he was entitled to drive in the south.

For the first half of the century of partition, it was effectively a hard Border in the geographical sense. But more so, the Border hardened in people’s hearts and minds, albeit the sense of identity for everyone of a Border community remained.

That division and things generally became even worse in the last third of the 20th century when the Troubles saw road closures, long delays at security checkpoints increased tension and fear among people. The entire length of the Border, with its hundreds of roads saw some terrible times.

Everything changed with the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement and movement back and forth became easier; indeed better than ever and people returned to a more normal life. People just want to get on with their lives and we’ve become used to it.

The impact that the previous Border had for decades was enormous. It would be madness to go back to the Border of the past with all its difficulties.

Yet, one gets the impression that Jamie Bryson and Jim Allister would quite welcome such a scenario here, whatever the inconvenience for people in this area. Bryson, according to Twitter found the journey to Enniskillen “quite the trek” and was thankful for a SatNav. He’s distant from the problems here.

This smacks of a sense of entitlement from a certain constituency of loyalism, which hasn’t quite grasped the changes which have taken place in Northern Ireland, both in terms of the demographic and the attitudes, particularly among younger people that the old symbols of past division aren’t as relevant to modern life for them as they were.

Protest is, of course, perfectly legitimate but it’s hard to see what it will achieve.

It’s clear that decisions to accommodate Brexit are taken at an international level and if there has been a betrayal of Unionism, loyalists should remember that it was their own basketcase of a British Government that let them down.

That should be the real focus of their disillusion. Not the Irish Government, and certainly not the people of Fermanagh who don’t want a return to the difficult times of Borders past.