Northern Ireland news

Assembly unveils events to mark creation of Northern Ireland and partition

The assembly is to hold a series of events to mark the centenaries the 'creation of Northern Ireland/partition'. Picture by Peter Morrison/PA Wire

THE STORMONT assembly is to hold a series of official events to mark the centenary of what has been termed the "creation of Northern Ireland/partition".

The programme of events, which was agreed by the five parties represented on the Assembly Commission, will also mark the first sitting of the old Northern Ireland Parliament.

Historian and Irish News columnist Dr Eamon Phoenix will deliver a series of 'Perspectives On…' virtual lectures that will look at the events leading to and following partition; the unionist perspective and unionist and loyalist leaders in 1921; the nationalist perspective and nationalist and republican leaders in 1921; and the old Northern Ireland parliament.

In the '100 Years, 100 Words' project, all 90 MLAs will be invited to submit short thoughts on the centenary in text or video, with contributions used on the assembly website and social media accounts.

Subject to the public health situation, Parliament Buildings will host an open day, scheduled for November 13, with a range of activities designed to encourage those who've never before visited Stormont.

Coinciding with the open day will be the launch of a new exhibition highlighting the role of the women who have served in the north's parliamentary and political institutions over the past century.

Speaker Alex Maskey also hopes to preside over a number of "outreach parliaments" in the assembly chamber, including the first sitting of the Youth Assembly.

Mr Maskey said it was "extremely positive" that all five parties on the Assembly Commission agreed the programme.

"While the different views on the centenaries in 2021 have to be respected, there is no doubting that the events they mark shaped our politics and our society for the decades which followed," he said.

"They also represent one hundred years of local parliamentary and political institutions and should be taken as an opportunity to allow us to look forward."

TUV leader Jim Allister described the programme as a "slight on what should be a significant date for everyone".

“Can anyone think of another country in the world which would not see a significant celebration at its parliament or assembly to mark the centenary of the state's birth?” he asked.

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