Belfast Telegraph

Talks underway on a museum to celebrate everything NI

By Staff Reporter

Preliminary talks have started about the possibility of creating a museum to celebrate sport, arts, literature, business and other successful aspects of Northern Ireland life.

From 2011 when the Ulster Sports Museum Association was formed, some of the country's most well known sporting personalities including 1972 Olympic champion Dame Mary Peters have campaigned for a sports museum in Northern Ireland to acknowledge sporting achievements across all sporting disciplines here.

What appears more feasible at this stage is a celebration of the nation as a whole, rather than just for its sporting exploits.

There is also the point that at Kingspan Stadium and Windsor Park, there are already visitor attractions marking the past and present of rugby and football in the country. When the new Casement Park is built, the GAA are expected to provide the same.

Minister for Communities Paul Givan said: "It's been a debate that has gone around for a while about a Museum of Sport in Northern Ireland.

"I have met groups who would like a Museum of Sport or an Art Gallery and these types of facilities in Northern Ireland which allow you to recognise the historical significance across society and in terms of what we are doing today to celebrate people who are successful.

"It is very difficult to ever do a single facility for one specific element because when it comes to that it can be very difficult to make the business case stack up from value for money around it.

"I do think there is merit in seeing if there is a way we can encapsulate things, so that is something we are exploring. It is certainly not at an advanced stage. There are conversations taking place but it is more at an embryonic level in terms of seeing what we can do.

"I think there is space for recognition of Northern Ireland, whether it is sporting or whether it is arts and not just having a single issue that we reflect on. That presents its challenges. I don't want to give the impression we are going to be announcing a new build programme but we are talking about it."

Belfast Telegraph

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