An Ulster Unionist MLA who gave a lecture at the Seán MacDiarmada Summer School in Kiltyclogher last weekend hopes that while offering a different perspective on history, that perspective will be respected.

Tom Elliott gave a lecture on the impact of, “The Disastrous impact of the Irish Civil War on Unionists and Protestants of the Free State”.

This year, the Summer School looked at Reflections of the Civil War, 1922-1923, and Mr. Elliott’s lecture gave an insight into the Unionist side.

And he believes that, by and large, the lecture was well received and helped people with different views understand each other.

“Some of my comments just wouldn’t have been universally approved, but that is how it is. It was well received and got a good reception, and I imagine I was the only person from the Unionist community there,” he said.

Mr. Elliott has taken part in several similar events through the years and said he always felt he should take those opportunities when they arise.

And he enjoyed delving into a period in history he was unfamiliar with. “It wasn’t one I was naturally familiar with, and I had to do quite a bit of my own research on it.

“What I tried to do was highlight that while the Irish Civil War was a feud between Irish Republicans and Nationalists, they found some way to bring Unionists and Protestants into it, to some extent, by going out and murdering people from that community.

“And I suppose I tried to reflect that to some degree, and how that small Unionist population in the Free State mainly became integrated into the Free State.”

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA hoped those who heard his lecture enjoyed hearing a different perspective.

“What I would hope that it helps to do is promote a bit of respect for each other’s communities.

“[Others] mightn’t agree with it, but you have to have a certain amount of respect for [a different perspective],” Mr. Elliott concluded.