“Perspectives On…” - An Agreed Series Of Events To Mark The Decade Of Centenaries At Parliament Buildings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 14 May 2012

Reference: AC 03/11/12

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly William Hay MLA - as Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission - has announced that the Commission has agreed an approach to commemorating a range of anniversaries to be marked within Parliament Buildings throughout the upcoming decade of centenaries.  The initiative-entitled “Perspectives On…” is designed to reflect on our history and allow MLAs the opportunity to discuss the issues and give their own views.

The Speaker said: “Earlier this year, following approaches made to me, I initiated a discussion with the Commission to consider how the decade of centenaries might be handled officially by the Assembly.  In representing society as a whole, it was right to consider if historic anniversaries should pass unmarked at the Assembly when a range of events are being held to acknowledge them elsewhere. 

“Following discussions with all Members of the Commission, we have established a process to agree by consensus which events will be marked and how they will be marked. In addition, we have also developed a set of principles underpinning the “Perspectives On…” series of events. The Commission has agreed that the range of official Assembly events will mark the more significant anniversaries and developments from a century ago but that the Assembly’s existing policy that allows MLAs to sponsor other events and functions on a cross community basis will still apply.  The Commission has also noted that I will continue to hold official events involving the wider community as Speaker and in the next year that will include the Diamond Jubilee and the UK City of Culture 2013.  

“I believe this is a hugely constructive development.  The Commission has been mindful that the tone with which these events are marked within Parliament Buildings will set a positive example.  In April, I led a service to give Members the opportunity to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic which provided a fitting and respectful start to how we handle such events over the next decade. In agreeing this initiative to mark a range of events, each of which will mean more to some than others, the Members of the Commission and their parties have shown leadership and that is to be commended.”

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