“A Guilty Prod” – “not so” bites back Glenn Bradley

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On Saturday 3rd May 2014 the Reverend Mervyn Gibson, an ordained Minister of religion for the Presbyterian Church and an Officer of Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland made a speech to a gathering of people that support the Ligoniel Combine Parade to complete an antiquated but (Orange Order) traditional parade route home. This route home was lawfully restricted to stop on the 12th July 2014.

Listen here to that speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlgRS2V-T8U&feature=youtu.be

In Rev. Gibson’s opening remarks he attacked what he derogatorily labelled ‘guilty prods’. I’ve been called a ‘guilty prod’ before and when I asked (at that time) what it meant I was informed by a loyalist that it was, to quote, “… a cunt like you that forgets where he is from when he became socially mobile. You think you’re better than us…”

When an ordained Minister used the term ‘guilty prod’ I asked members of public on Twitter how they interpreted the appellation ‘guilty prod.’

I got varying definitions but the consensus went like this:

“… someone who educates themselves and feels guilty..”

“… someone that does well for themselves professionally and feels guilty about working class prods..”

“… someone who licks fenian… because they’re all educated the same..”

The underlying definition of a ‘guilty prod’ is evidently someone of the Protestant faith who either through education or hard work, advances, their quality of life for that of their families.

As someone raised in a Loyalist family, during the Troubles in the Woodvale Road area, their sole interest for me was to improve my quality of life through education & hard work. As such, I found the label by a Minister and a member of Belfast County GOLI insulting. This was also a sweeping generalisation about any Protestant who doesn’t support the Twaddell Avenue protest.

As such I ask Presbyterians (because the Rev. Gibson is ordained by you) is this your honest view? Do you look on self-industrious academic or professional achievement as a betrayal that should make members of your denomination or other Protestant denominations feel somehow ‘guilty’?

I am asking the leaders of the Methodist Church, the Church of Ireland, the Baptist Church and others as well: is it your view that members of your faith who work hard to achieve a 3rd level education or professional accreditations should be labelled ‘guilty prods’ by an ordained Minister?

If you disagree with the Reverend Gibson or GOLI then your leadership and guidance is needed. If you agree, then, “Jesus Wept”.

I listened to the Reverend speak too about the abduction, torture & murder of Jean McConville while speaking of IRA sectarianism.

Hypocrisy rang in my ears as I (younger than the Rev. Gibson) remembered that Mrs McConville found herself in Divis Flats because a Loyalist mob had burned her out of east Belfast.

A debate between the ignorant murderous intent mob burning her out & the radical fools who actually killed her is like debating guilt between Judas and Pilate.

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About Author

Glenn Bradley was born in 1967 in west Belfast. A peace-line child who served in the British Army. He is now an International businessman working with Trade Unions; NGOs & Corporates advocating Ethical Trade.


  1. Roy Reilly-Robertson on

    Another ‘Guilty Prod’ and agreeing with all Glenn Bradley says. Normally I would recoil in horror if anyone called me a Prod having dropped religion entirely long ago but in this case proud to stand in such company. Get real Mervyn and do try to grow up, politically, morally, educationally etc and try not to live putting people in boxes.

  2. It’s often remarked that one of the impacts of the “Troubles” was the fall in Protestant participation in the commercial and educational life in NI; as we all know many went to England for university and didn’t return.

    However the ready availability of well paid jobs in the security forces must have also had an effect. Why bother with A-levels or apprenticeships, why strive to improve oneself when one’s peers are driving the fast cars and flashing the cash? Has this been a factor in a failure of the Protestants to live up to their proud traditions of hard work and respect for education? Is this why they take refuge in flags, parades and symbols, why they are so lacking in self-confidence and ambition? So reluctant to embrace the future?

  3. Burnsy_Belfast on

    Gibson is an idiot. I still live in a loyalist area of north Belfast, didn’t quite get the degree or the means to afford to leave. I’ve never heard that specific term but i think it’s related to a common perception which is that when Protestants get out of the ghetto they forget their working-class unionist/loyalist roots while Catholic who do the same do not forget theirs. It’s probably closer to the truth to say that maybe protestants who do improve their lot are embarrassed by Loyalism; at least those Loyalists with an ever narrowing world-view who gravitate around paramilitarism. God knows, it embarrasses me to be associated with the actions of these hard-liners simply because of where i live (the activities of LAD & other parody websites don’t make it any easier). The sense of a siege mentality & isolation increases as the demographics (and traditionally perceived loyalist areas) shrink. It seems to me that the idea of what ‘Loyalism’ means & represents is becoming an ever narrowing spectrum. A broadening of horizons is required. These areas are in dire need of real leadership…. people that can present a new loyalism and break it free from fear-mongering politicians and leeching paramilitaries . Unfortunately, there’s no-one out there that looks anywhere near fitting the bill.

  4. What a sad article.

    I have no doubt that Glenn has written his article of life as he experiences it. But when you have a supposedly educated reverend using language like that, whether he believes it or is just winding up his poor unfortunate followers, what chance is there of any rational negotiation in this little region?

    I despair!

  5. presbyterian on

    As a presbyterian this rhetoric makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t feel I should comment on what Mervyn Gibson has said but I do want to express another view . I want to work for an aggreed Northern Ireland, to strive for a better environment for all our people and I want to be faithful to my calling as a minister of the gospel of Christ, which offers peace to all people even those I disagree with.

    • what about the begrudging attitude expressed in the term “guilty prod”? How do you stand on that?

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