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Stormont pledges £1m for proposed Seamus Heaney arts centre in home village

Almost £1 million has been pledged by Stormont ministers towards the construction of a Seamus Heaney arts centre in his home village.

It will be constructed in Bellaghy, Co Londonderry, as a tribute to the area's most famous son. The internationally-renowned poet died in August 2013 aged 74.

The overall cost of the Seamus Heaney Arts and Literary Centre is £4.2 million. D eputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin today announced funding of £980,000 towards the development.

Mr McGuinness said: "The new Seamus Heaney Arts and Literary Centre in Bellaghy is a fitting way to celebrate the contribution of a literary giant.

"Through this centre the work, writings and life of Seamus Heaney will continue to enrich all our lives and move us deeply."

More than 2,000 books and reference materials from the personal library of the late poet will create a haven for literature and the arts in the new visitor centre to celebrate the life and work of the late Nobel laureate.

The centre is being developed with the support of the Heaney family, and is expected to attract up to 50,000 visitors each year when it opens in 2016, Culture Northern Ireland said.

Stormont's Culture Minister said: "I am today pleased to commit almost £1 million of funding for this magnificent project which honours a man who is undoubtedly amongst the greatest literary exponents ever to have come from these shores and who, like his fellow Nobel laureates Shaw, Yeats and Beckett, has done so much to ensure that the richness of Irish literature has received true recognition on the world stage."

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