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Northern Ireland marks 100 years since its creation

Much like the day NI was founded, there will be no huge celebrations or grand ceremonies today.

File image of Parliament Buildings at Stormont, Belfast.
File image of Parliament Buildings at Stormont, Belfast.
Image: PA

TODAY IS THE 100th anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland, with the date set to be marked quietly.

Much like the day that NI was founded 100 years ago, there will be no huge celebrations or grand ceremonies today.

Very few people who were alive to witness the birthdate of Northern Ireland were aware it was a particularly significant day.

The Queen has sent her “warmest good wishes” to the people of NI today.

She referred to “treasured” memories she shared in Northern Ireland with her late husband, Prince Philip, and paid tribute to its people.

“This anniversary reminds us of our complex history, and provides an opportunity to reflect on our togetherness and our diversity,” the monarch said in a statement.

“It is clear that reconciliation, equality and mutual understanding cannot be taken for granted, and will require sustained fortitude and commitment.

“During my many visits to Northern Ireland, I have seen these qualities in abundance, and look forward to seeing them again on future occasions.”

Northern Ireland was created on 3 May 1921 when the Government of Ireland Act came into effect and partitioned the island of Ireland into two separate entities.

But the exact date of when NI was created has divided opinion.

The effect of the Government of Ireland Act split the 32 counties of Ireland into two, leaving Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone to form Northern Ireland.

Centenary commemorations have not escaped the effects of Covid-19 restrictions.

The pandemic has caused huge disruption to plans by unionist parties to mark the centenary event.

Tomorrow, a panel will examine the history of Northern Ireland.

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The talk, involving a number of historians brought together to advise the UK government on the centenary, will take place live from the Ulster Museum.

The government’s plans to mark the centenary of the state’s foundation include a major business showcase in London, a £1 million (€1.15 million) Shared History Fund, a futuristic programme for young people, tree-planting projects, academic and historic events and an international church service for all denominations.

A total of £1 million has been awarded to 39 community projects to research and demonstrate what 100 years of Northern Ireland has meant to them and their community.

Belfast City Council will host an event at the City Hall marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament in the building on 22 June 1921 by King George V.

Every school will be presented with a native tree to plant in their grounds while an extensive young people’s programme will explore what the future will look like in the next 100 years.

The Centenary Rose, a flower the UK government said would represent reflection and hope, will be produced in Northern Ireland and planted in the gardens of the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle in Co Down.

A Centenary Rose will also be presented to the Queen for her own garden and there will be a decorative rose pin designed and produced in the UK, to be worn by VIPs at centenary events and given to programme participants.

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