Speakers of NI Assembly, House Of Commons And Dáil Éireann Launch Lecture Series to Mark Centenaries

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 28 April 2021

Reference: SO 37/21/22

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA was today joined by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP and the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD to launch the first of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission’s series of lectures to mark the creation of Northern Ireland/Partition and the first sitting of the old Northern Ireland Parliament.

The first lecture, entitled ‘The Origins of Northern Ireland 1912-25: From Home Rule to Partition and the Formative Early Years’ is part of the Assembly Commission’s ongoing programme of Decade of Centenaries events and was delivered by renowned local historian Dr Eamon Phoenix.

As part of his opening remarks Speaker Maskey said, “There is no doubt that the events of 1921 had a lasting impact on politics, relationships and institutions on these islands for the 100 years that followed. In that context, I think it underlines how far relationships have come that the three Presiding Officers of the legislatures most influenced by these events can join together to reflect upon them.

“There are different views in the Assembly on this year’s centenaries, just as there are in our wider community. There are those who hold their British identity dear, for whom this is a period of celebration, and I want to recognise that their ability to celebrate has been particularly frustrated by the pandemic.

“There are those who see themselves as Irish, who do not view partition as a positive legacy and their focus is on their aspirations for the future. Of course, for others, the centenaries we are marking this year do not define how they see themselves in the same way. As Speaker, I want to recognise the validity and importance of all those different perspectives.

“We know that in this Assembly we do not have to look too far to find issues that divide us, although that is often the case in Westminster and the Dáil too.

“However, we can also use these opportunities as examples of how we can look forward to the future together. It may well be easier for me to say that through the independence and impartiality of the office of Speaker. It was only last week that the entire Assembly came together in a very positive way in the Chamber to celebrate the achievement of our fantastic women’s international football team qualifying for the Euros.

“One of the things that personally frustrates me in this role is that it is often only through our differences that the Assembly is defined despite the many occasions on which Members are working on issues together. So that is also something for us all to think about through these centenaries.

“These centenaries give us the chance to look back, to reflect and to learn. However, we can relive the events of 1921 and since, or we can recognise the better place we are now in and work to find our way through all of the outstanding problems and the issues that face us in the future. In that way, the decade of centenaries has posed a challenge to all of us but it is entirely fitting that we can come together tonight across these islands, British, Irish and others, to reflect on events which have had a significant impact upon us all.”



Notes to Editors:

The lectures that will mark this centenary are part of the ‘Perspectives On…’ series and will include:

  • The events leading to, and following, the creation of Northern Ireland/partition. 
  • The unionist perspective and unionist and loyalist leaders in 1921.
  • The nationalist perspective and nationalist and republican leaders in 1921.
  • The old Northern Ireland parliament.


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Communications Office

The Northern Ireland Assembly

Email: info@niassembly.gov.uk

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