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UK government to spend £3 million marking Northern Ireland centenary

Boris Johnson said the centenary needed to be marked “sensitively”.

Image: Shutterstock/Attila JANDI

THE UK GOVERNMENT will spend £3 million (€3.3 million) on a series of events to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland next year.

Further details of the plans are set to be announced by the British government’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis later today.

“2021 marks 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, which paved the way for the formation of the UK as we know it today,” Lewis said.

We will use this opportunity to hear untold stories, to promote Northern Ireland on the world stage and to celebrate its people, culture, traditions and enterprise; and its vital contribution to the UK.

Lewis will unveil centenary branding – Our Story In The Making: NI Beyond 100 – at an event in Belfast today.

“As we look forward to 2021, the government is planning an exciting programme to promote Northern Ireland’s potential across the UK, and also internationally,” he added.

Next year is the time to shine a light on what makes Northern Ireland so special, and to look forward to a bright future.

The Centenary Forum consultative body was set up in September to discuss plans for the anniversary.

The body includes representatives from political parties, business, tourism and community sectors. However, both Sinn Féin and the SDLP refused to take part in the forum.

Members of the forum recently told TheJournal.ie that there could be a cross-border element to commemorations.

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Senior civil servants from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs have been given ‘observer status’ at some of the meetings due to concerns over the sensitivity of the anniversary.

During an August visit to Belfast, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the centenary needed to be marked “sensitively”.

The funding announcement comes after the UK Government last month launched the Shared History Fund, making £1 million available to support centenary events run by non-profit organisations including community, heritage and voluntary groups.

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Ceimin Burke

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