The Reverend Brian Kennaway was brought up in North Belfast. After a time in industry he attended Magee University College Londonderry where he was President of the Students’ Representative Council (1969-1970). He then attended Trinity College Dublin where he graduated in 1972.
He enrolled at Union Theological College Belfast and was ordained into the Ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1976 and served in Crumlin. He retired in 2009.
Brian remains active in the wider Church, serving on a number of Boards and Committees of the General Assembly. Brian is also a former senior Orangeman. He joined the Orange Order in 1964 and had written extensively on Orangeism and Unionism for newspapers and journals. Brian lectures regularly on History and Orangeism. His book 'The Orange Order: A Tradition Betrayed' was published in 2006.
Brian was appointed a member the Parades Commission by the Secretary of State for a three year term 2011–2013. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute for British-Irish Studies, at University College Dublin.
Brian John Spencer: "When did you first learn about the Easter Rising of 1916?" Reverend Brian Kennaway:
"FIRST MISTAKE BRIAN - IT WAS A REBELLION NOT A RISING. IT DID NOT HAVE POPULAR SUPPORT AT THE TIME.
I first learned about it as a child - from my mother!"
BJS: "Do the men, the act or the stated ideals in the proclamation mean anything to you?" BK:
"YES - they committed an act or treason when the nation’s at war. There is a similarity between their ideals and those of the Orange Order as seen in the “Qualifications”.
Their stated ideals however were never realised in fact the opposite - the ideal of "cherishing all the children of the nation equally”, resulted in the murder of many protestants and in the demise of the protestant population."
BJS: "When did you first learn about the Battle of the Somme?" BK:
"At home from my mother."
BJS: "Does this act, the men and their determination to show their loyalty to Britain mean anything to you?" BK:
"Yes - A sense of duty and loyalty to ones state."
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?" BK:
"The REBELLION shows the danger of a misplaced sense of romantic idealism/violent nationalism/violent republicanism."
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?" BK:
"The Somme displays a sense of loyalty/sacrifice - even though it was misplaced."
BJS: "Will you be commemorating or celebrating either of these two events in April and July of this year respectively?" BK:
"I will wait to see if I am invited and decide accordingly."
BJS: "Are you happy with the series of commemorative events put on by the Irish State?" BK:
"YES - the Irish State are giving leadership while here in Northern Ireland it is left to the thugs and paramilitaries."
BJS: "And what do you think of Arlene Foster's take on the events of Easter 1916 (she has refused to attend any commemorations)?" BK:
"She is being true to her ideals - IT WAS A REBELLION AGAINST THE STATE AND IT WOULD BE HYPOCRITICAL FOR HER HOWEVER - for some like myself I have no difficulty celebrating the failure of a rebellion against my state!!"
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?" BK:
"YOU MUST BE JOKING!! - Where is this cosmopolitanism and broad-mindedness???"
BJS: "What are your hopes for the future of this divided province and island?" BK:
"My only hope is that god will intervene in His grace and change the hearts and minds of individuals."