Northern Ireland news

Plan to light up Belfast City Hall for centenary blocked by Sinn Féin

Belfast City Hall will not take part in a UK-wide lighting up of civic buildings tomorrow to mark Northern Ireland's centenary
Rebecca Black, PA

A plan to light up Belfast City Hall to mark the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland has been scuppered by Sinn Féin.

Northern Ireland was formed following the partition of Ireland in 1921. Unionist representatives on Belfast City Council had proposed that City Hall be lit up to mark the centenary year.

It would have come on the same day as a cross-community church service of reflection at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh.

Sinn Féin’s group leader on the council Ciaran Beattie slammed the partition of Ireland as “nothing to celebrate for those from an Irish nationalist background”.

He claimed the move to illuminate City Hall for the partition was “entirely political and triumphalist”.

“It would have an adverse impact on those from an Irish nationalist background in the city,” he said.

“Those involved in proposing illuminating Belfast City Hall to celebrate partition consciously disregarded the procedures, which outline clearly that there must agreement in the Strategic, Policy and Resource Committee to illuminate the building for an issue of a contentious nature.

“Further, the proposal to illuminate Belfast City Hall was not included in the Council’s Decade of Centenary’s programme agreed by all parties.

“The Decade of Centenaries programme has a core basic principle, balance.

“The addition of this late request would create an imbalance in providing exclusively for a Unionist viewpoint and without the space for any counter-narrative.

“To proceed with the decision to illuminate Belfast City Hall without due process and recognition of the Decade of Centenaries principles will cause hurt in the City and disregard previously agreed council policy on remembering historical events.”

TUV North Belfast candidate Ron McDowell accused Sinn Féin of a lack of respect towards unionists.

“This is but a foretaste of how my community would be treated in Republicanism’s mythical all-Ireland.

“Where’s the equality?

“Where’s the parity of esteem?

“There’s no point talking about creating shared space when there are some you don’t deem worthy of any space”.

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