Assembly Commission Launches New Display in Parliament Buildings
Session: Session currently unavailable
Date: 23 March 2022
Reference: AC 02/21/22
The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (the Assembly Commission) has today launched a new permanent display of items and images in Parliament Buildings. The display – Parliament Buildings – a Journey of People, Politics and Peacebuilding - includes a range of original and copy portraits, photographs, items and storyboards, that document the key figures and events linked to the parliamentary and political institutions here since 1921.
Tonight’s launch event follows a review of artefacts in Parliament Buildings which was undertaken by the Assembly Commission and has been agreed by the five main political parties represented on the Assembly Commission.
Speaker of the Assembly and Chairperson of the Assembly Commission, Alex Maskey MLA said: “I am delighted to launch this important addition to Parliament Buildings with the support of all the political parties represented on the Assembly Commission.
“Since the creation of the Assembly in 1998, there has been much discussion and debate about the items that are, or should be, displayed in Parliament Buildings. I am pleased that we will now have a permanent collection of images and items on display that will depict key political figures and events from over the years. It is also important that this project has attempted to tell the story of our political institutions and reflect the breadth and diversity of political views here.
“I am particularly looking forward to members of the public being able to access the display. I hope that it adds an extra dimension to their visit to Parliament Buildings and helps to create a deeper understanding of political life here.”
The display which will be open to the public from Monday 28 March 2022, includes portraits and images of major figures from all political perspectives and key events from the Northern Ireland Parliament and subsequent legislatures, from 1921 onwards.
A number of figures are being depicted in Parliament Buildings for the first time and a number of items owned by the Assembly Commission are being moved out of storage or non-public areas. The portraits of former First Ministers, deputy Speakers and Speakers have also been relocated to the Great Hall. Approximately 100 different images and items will now be on display in Parliament Buildings.
Notes to Editors
Highlights of images and items on display in Parliament Buildings
Key figures from the original Northern Ireland Parliament are displayed such as all six unionist Prime Ministers, nationalist and republican leaders and representatives from the smaller parties including:
- Portrait of James Craig, Lord Craigavon (1871-1940)
First Prime Minister in the Northern Ireland Parliament
- Portrait of John Millar (JM) Andrews (1871-1956)
Second Prime Minister of the Northern Ireland Parliament
- Portrait of Joe Devlin (1871-1934)
Led the Irish Parliamentary Party between 1918-1921 and the Nationalist Party from 1928-1934. Elected to the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921 for Belfast West.
- Portrait of Éamon de Valera (1882-1975)
Elected in 1921 and 1933 to the Northern Ireland House of Commons, representing Down and later South Down.
- Portrait of Sir Basil Brooke, Lord Brookborough (1888-1973)
Prime Minister of the Northern Ireland Parliament from 1943-1963.
- Portrait of Dehra Chichester, nee Kerr Fisher (Later known as Dame Dehra Parker) (1882-1963).
First female Cabinet Minister to be appointed in Northern Ireland in 1949.
- Portrait of Michael Collins (1890-1922)
Elected in 1922 to the Northern Ireland House of Commons, representing Armagh.
- Portrait of Arthur Griffith (1871-1922)
Elected to the Northern Ireland House of Commons as the MP for Fermanagh and Tyrone.
- Portrait of Cahir Healy (1877-1970)
One of the founding members of Sinn Féin; elected to the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1925. Longest serving member of the Northern Ireland Parliament, ended his career in 1965 as the Father of the House.
- Portrait of Eoin MacNeill (1867-1945)
Elected to the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921 for Londonderry; served as the first Ceann Comhairle (Speaker) of Dáil Éireann (1919-1922).
Key Moments depicted include
- Image of the first Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921
- Image of the first Northern Ireland Cabinet in 1921
- Image of David Trimble and John Hume receiving the Noble Peace Prize in 1998
- Image of David Trimble and Seamus Mallon being appointed First Minister and Deputy First Minister
- Image of Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams meeting in the Long Gallery following the St Andrews Agreement
- Image of the ceremony to mark the return of devolution in 2007
- Image of the appointment of a Justice Minister following the Hillsborough Agreement in 2010
Key Items on display include
- The Ceremonial Maces of the original Northern Ireland Parliament 1921-1972
- The Indenture for the Stormont Estate
Parliament Buildings will be open for public tours and viewing the display from 28 March 2022. The artefacts display do not form part of the tour.
Tours of Parliament Buildings can be booked on Eventbrite and each tour is limited to 25 participants. The tours are at 11.00am and 2.00pm Monday through Friday.
For media enquiries, please contact:
The Communications Office
Northern Ireland Assembly