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NI to receive £3m for various events to help mark the centenary

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Boost: Northern Ireland will receive £3m from the UK Government

Boost: Northern Ireland will receive £3m from the UK Government

Boost: Northern Ireland will receive £3m from the UK Government

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis will announce a £3m funding commitment from the UK Government today to help mark the Northern Ireland centenary next year.

Mr Lewis will formally launch the government's plans for the milestone at a Policy Exchange event in Belfast, as well as unveil the event's branding - Our Story in the Making: NI Beyond 100.

He will also outline further details regarding the centenary programme.

A document obtained by the BBC in October revealed that events could be held across the UK and further afield to mark the occasion.

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson welcomed the forthcoming funding announcement and said it was right that UK Government supports the event.

Speaking ahead of today's launch, Mr Lewis said: "2021 marks 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, which paved the way for the formation of the United Kingdom as we know it today.

"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 United Kingdom.

"This past year has not been easy but I believe we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel."

Mr Lewis added that the Government is planning an "exciting" programme to promote Northern Ireland's potential across the UK, and also internationally. "Next year is the time to shine a light on what makes Northern Ireland so special, and to look forward to a bright future," he concluded.

Sir Jeffrey, the DUP's Westminster leader, was said all centenary events are designed to be "inclusive".

"We welcome the forthcoming announcement by the Secretary of State of UK Government support for various events and initiatives to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland," he stated.

"We believe it is important to recognise this milestone in the history of Northern Ireland and its continuing relationship with the United Kingdom.

"It is right that the government supports these type of events and initiatives, which are designed to be inclusive and to encourage people to mark this special occasion in out history."

Last month, the government launched the Shared History Fund, making available £1m to support the engagement of a wide range of arts, heritage, voluntary, community and other non-profit organisations with the history of the centenary of Northern Ireland.

An Northern Ireland Office spokesperson said the Centenary Forum is meeting regularly, ensuring it listens to diverse perspectives as they create a bold and ambitious centenary programme.

However, neither Sinn Fein or the SDLP are taking part in the Centenary Forum.

The Northern Ireland Office has said that the forum provides an opportunity for a broad spectrum of people, including those from across the political parties, business, tourism and the voluntary and community sectors, to come together to help shape the delivery of the programme of events in order to mark this significant national anniversary.

The Historical Advisory Panel is also working to provide advice to the forum, and to the government, on the historical facts of the period, as well as seeking to encourage and support a deeper public awareness of the history of the centenary.

Belfast Telegraph


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