Call for nationalists and unionists to work together to mark centenaries
Unionists could attend republican events — and nationalists turn out to mark unionist anniversaries — in a bid to prevent the forthcoming barrage of centenaries unsettling political progress.
The indications came as the Assembly urged Sinn Fein Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin and the DUP’s Industry Minister Arlene Foster to work together to ensure the commemorations are as “inclusive” as possible.
An Alliance party motion said working together, the British and Irish governments, along with Stormont, local councils and other groups planning for the period ahead could “set the tone” for how events are organised.
But First Minister Peter Robinson said: “What is required is that people have an understanding and respect for people's background and traditions.”
His comments came after Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin said his party would participate in events which reflect the unionist tradition.
Mr McLaughlin said he had been affected “tremendously” by the Queen’s visit to Republic.
The almost decade-long sequence of centenaries includes commemoration of the Ulster Covenant and a century since the Easter Rising in 2016, leading up to the centenary of the foundation of Northern Ireland in 2021.
Other commemorations will include the Home Rule crisis, the rise of women's suffrage and the rise of labour movements.