View Full Version : Northern Ireland Centenary 100

Thursday, March 18th, 2021, 09:40 PM

Stormont's unionist leaders have criticised a decision not to erect a stone marking Northern Ireland's centenary at Parliament Buildings.

The DUP, Ulster Unionists and TUV made the request to the assembly commission, which includes MLAs from the five main parties, in January. They accused Sinn Féin of a "shameful exercise" in vetoing the proposal. Sinn Féin said it opposed the stone as it "reflects only one political perspective". The assembly commission, which runs Stormont, said the parties had been "unable to reach the required consensus" on the suggestion.

But in a joint statement, Arlene Foster, Steve Aiken and Jim Allister said they believed the proposal was "non-controversial". "We are dismayed by the refusal of the commission to permit this project, which would not have cost the public purse as our respective parties and MLAs were committed to funding it," they said. "The refusal arises from the shameful exercise of a veto by Sinn Féin. "Yet, this is the party that talks most about respect for all communities, but when a modest proposal was made on behalf of the wider unionist community it was callously vetoed."

'One tradition'

But a Sinn Féin spokesperson dismissed the criticism from unionist parties and said the stone had been "designed and commissioned by representatives of one tradition".

· Official events to mark NI centenary revealed (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56368091)
· Marking 100 years of Northern Ireland (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-55337905)
· NI centenary should be handled 'sensitively' - PM (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-53757119)

"It would have been more appropriate if the leaders of the unionist parties, who proposed this centenary stone, had first discussed this proposal with the other parties and the other people they share this building with," they added.

The BBC News NI website has a dedicated section marking the 100th anniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland and partition of the island.

There are special reports on the major figures of the time and the events that shaped modern Ireland available at bbc.co.uk/ni100 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/ni100).

Year '21:You can also explore how Northern Ireland was created a hundred years ago in the company of Tara Mills and Declan Harvey.

Listen to the latest Year '21 podcast on BBC Sounds (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0926q6m) or catch-up on previous episodes.

"Such an approach to the centenary of partition could embrace the very different perspectives of that event and how best to reflect these perspectives in an inclusive and respectful manner."

They said the stone proposal was "symbolic of past failures of political unionism and of the state", and that those failures were "not a template for the future".

Centenary 'should be shared'

The SDLP and Alliance both confirmed they had supported the proposal. "It is important that we find a way of reflecting the stark experiences of partition and the formation of Northern Ireland and its impact on people.

"In a spirit of generosity, we were therefore supportive of the proposal which would have come at no cost to taxpayers and clearly had a great deal of meaning for unionists," said an SDLP spokesperson.

"The SDLP believes that there should be a broader review of monuments within the Stormont Estate and Parliament Buildings to reflect the diversity of our society."

An Alliance spokesperson said the project was "a modest plan to commemorate a significant event".

"While we respect everyone has a different view on partition, the centenary should be marked in a shared, inclusive way, with a focus on the future", they added.

Earlier this week, Stormont's Speaker Alex Maskey published details of official assembly events marking the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland.

It includes a series of talks and several exhibitions reflecting the past 100 years.


When the DUP, UUP and TUV wrote to him in January with the request for the stone to be erected in the grounds of Parliament Buildings, it was referred to the assembly commission in their discussions about how to mark the centenary at Stormont.

An assembly commission spokesperson said all five parties agreed a programme of events for 2021 in mid-February, and that the proposal would be considered further.

"However, the commission was subsequently unable to reach the required consensus on this proposal and it was therefore not agreed," the spokesperson added.

Unionist parties criticise centenary stone 'veto' (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56436497)

18 III 2021.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021, 07:26 PM
It is "outrageous" that the Stormont executive Northern Ireland Assembly has not set aside any money to mark Northern Ireland's centenary, the TUV leader Jim Allister has said.

He was speaking as MLAs on an assembly committee questioned Department of Finance officials about the executive's budget for 2021-22. Mr Allister said it was a "deplorable fact" that not a "single penny" had been allocated for centenary events. An official said the UK government was funding the commemorations. Mr Allister said that as far as Stormont was concerned "the centenary is to be ignored". Joanne McBurney, the acting head of directorate at the Department of Finance, confirmed that no Stormont money had been set aside to mark the centenary.

Mr Allister repeatedly pressed the civil servant about the issue as she gave evidence to the assembly's Finance Committee. She said that funding for the commemorations was coming from a "different route" (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-55296473), notably the government's Northern Ireland Office.

Sinn Féin assembly members (MLAs) on the committee objected to the manner and tone of Mr Allister's questioning. Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said: "Officials are not here to make political commentary." He also criticised the way the issue was handled by the DUP MLA Paul Frew who chaired that section of the meeting. Mr McGuigan said Mr Frew should have "stepped in" to stop the line of questioning.Mr Frew said it was his decision to chair the meeting in the way he felt was appropriate and he also felt it was appropriate all members were able to ask questions.

No Stormont budget for NI centenary 'outrageous' 23 III 2021 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56352582)

Northern Ireland is a very divided society with people occupying political positions only for power and wages. More so than anywhere it’s pure pantomime. Nationalists have no regard or respect for Unionists and their sole object is to end the existence of Northern Ireland with a majority in a referendum for a United Ireland. Today’s Republic of Ireland, the ‘Poster Boy of the EU’, could hardly be less appealing. The UK pay £ 10.8 billion a year to run Northern Ireland. The EU & Commissar Merkel will push reunification as payback for Brexit but the Republic of Ireland can’t afford the price of running Northern Ireland and know there will be a serious civil war before the Unionists will be coerced into a United Ireland /UI.

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021, 09:33 PM

A NEW POLL has suggested that people in Northern Ireland would vote to remain in the UK if a referendum was called.

Of those surveyed, 49% said they would vote to stay in the UK while 43% would support a united Ireland. The remainder were undecided. The Lucid Talk poll, which had a sample size of 2,845 and a 2.5% margin of error, was conducted for BBC NI’s Spotlight programme over April 5-7.

Spotlight commissioned a similar poll in the Irish Republic as part of a special programme reflecting on the centenary of Northern Ireland’s foundation. In the Irish Republic, 51% of people said they would vote for a united Ireland while 27% would vote against it. That poll was conducted by Lucid Talk/Ireland Thinks between April 6 and 9. The sample size was 1,008 with a 2.5% margin of error.

The poll also asked people for their views on the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol that governs post-Brexit trading arrangements between the region and the rest of the UK. In Northern Ireland, opinion was sharply divided, with 48% wanting it scrapped and 46% thinking it should be retained.

In the Irish Republic, 74% said the Protocol should be retained, with 10% saying it should be scrapped.

However, people in Northern Ireland were also asked whether their MLAs should vote for the region to remain in the Single Market (the EU) when they decided on the Protocol’s future in three years. Some 56% said Northern Ireland should remain in the Single Market while 38% said it should not.

In terms of Northern Ireland’s constitutional position in the longer term, the survey asked people if they thought the Northern Ireland region would still be within the UK in 10 years and in 25 years.

On the 10-year timeframe, 55% of people in Northern Ireland felt it would still be in the UK, with 32% believing a united Ireland would be achieved by then. In the Irish Republic, 59% felt Northern Ireland would still be in the UK in 10 years, with 26% predicted Irish unity would have been achieved by then.

The results were significantly different for 25 years. In Northern Ireland, 37% felt the region would still be part of the UK in 25 years, with 51% believing it would not. In the Irish Republic, 26% felt Northern Ireland would still be part of the UK in 25 years, with 54% saying it would not.

The poll, which was taken in a period when disorder was flaring in certain areas of Northern Ireland, asked people if they thought violence could return to the region. In Northern Ireland, 76% said yes. In the Irish Republic, 87% feared a potential return to conflict.

The survey also asked people if they thought the centenary should be celebrated. Of those questioned, 40% agreed and 45% disagreed.

In the Irish Republic, 12% said it should be celebrated and 50% said it should not.

In Northern Ireland, 48% said they believed partition was a negative development which should be regretted with 41% disagreeing. In the Irish Republic, 71% said it was a negative development, with 7% disagreeing.

Northern Ireland receives about €12 billion annual subsidy from the UK government. Where’s that money going to come from if we reunify?

I think the majority down here in the R o I would also vote to leave them in the U.K. They really need to get their own house in order first and under their current leaders that might take another 100 years.

A simple takeover will never be accepted by the people of NI, many Catholics wouldn’t vote for that either.

How many in the UK want NI to be part of the union?

The very last thing a poll like this wants is to be close. Legally, 50%+1 vote will do it but would that be wise? In reality a good pass is needed – predictable 2/3rds in favour would do it.

the GFA has this border poll ticking bomb embedded in it and eventually it will go off. SF will organise a referendum when they deem the time is right and NI will eventually leave the UK. But what if the Unionists determine that opinion has shifted again and would like another poll to see whether the 6 counties should rejoin the UK? Tough! They’re stuck with the ROI forever. Bit like voting over and over for the Lisbon Treaty until we give the right answer and then it’s never up for debate again.

That’s why a 50%+1 result in a border poll can’t be enough, it needs to be quite a comfortable clear result. I’d be going more towards 60/40.

A majority in Northern Ireland would vote to stay in UK, poll finds (https://www.thejournal.ie/majority-in-northern-ireland-would-vote-against-united-ireland-5415947-Apr2021/)

21 IV 2021

A United Ireland in the 'globalist' EU with a population, now 20% immigrants, which is no longer Irish or Catholic, but liberal marxist and a National Media run by social engineering gays seems less and less appealing.

Should there be a U. I. referendum majority it will begin a serious Yugoslavia style Civil conflict in the North / Northern Ireland, unlike anything there’s ever been before. Of course the Brits don't want to referee - AGAIN. Let sleeping dogs lie.

BBC Spotlight: A contested centenary. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-northern-ireland-56816798)

Rodskarl Dubhgall
Thursday, April 22nd, 2021, 02:38 AM
If only the Viking counties of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick were kept, then "Gaelic" Ireland would have no real objection. The Pale is pretty good, even if the others might be no more than Treaty Ports run by those like the houses of Butler, Fitzgerald, Burke, etc. I'm not really interested in Ulster, but that's either a Scottish or a London issue. Say Londonderry is the county town and Derry is the county. That should be a good compromise. Only place I'd live in Ireland would be the Pale.

Monday, May 3rd, 2021, 08:29 PM
Northern Ireland at a crossroads as partition centenary underlines division

Debates about commemorating the past are also about the future


Edwin Poots, tipped to succeed Arlene Foster as DUP leader, speaks to the media in the grounds of Stormont Castle, Belfast, in 2017.

Anniversaries tell us far more about the present than the past.

So it has already proven in the North, where the controversy over how to mark 100 years since the partition of Ireland (https://www.irishtimes.com/news) and the creation of Northern Ireland (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_location=Northern+Ireland) – or the question of whether it should be marked at all – has demonstrated more starkly than any expert analysis or reflection how the divisions formalised a century ago persist.

Though muted because of Covid-19, there are celebrations today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the state of Northern Ireland, and a slew of events planned, seeking to examine the legacy of partition and the achievements since.

Yet all of this is taking place at a time when those celebrating Northern Ireland’s milestone feel its continued existence and their own identity is under threat, caught as they are between British indifference, a perfidious prime minister and the increasingly loud cries of those advocating for a united Ireland.

“My fear is that the status quo will not remain that way, and that the agitation towards a united Ireland and the push for it won’t stop,” says Valerie Quinn (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_person=Valerie+Quinn), the chair of the Ulster Bands Forum. “In terms of Northern Ireland I’m very positive, but in terms of there not being a Northern Ireland, that scares me.”

Playwright Jonathan Burgess (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_person=Jonathan+Burgess) says: “Of course we feel our identity is under threat because we’re always questioned about it, always asked about a united Ireland. It’s constant, constant, constant.” All the Protestant/unionist/loyalist community want is “for things to stay the same”, says Quinn. For her, there is much to celebrate today, not least the contribution people from Northern Ireland have made to the world in terms of science, sport and the arts. “I think it’s sad we can’t come together and celebrate that.”

For nationalists or republicans, as Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill put it bluntly, there “isn’t anything to celebrate”.

The pressing alternatives are no longer between self-government or direct rule, but nor do the signposts point simply towards Dublin or London

This is the difficulty with commemorations, especially official, state-sponsored ones. Gestures such as a centenary postmark or the lighting of beacons are by their nature simplistic, implying a shared world view and requiring, at the very least, a buy-in by its subjects to the same values, ideals and aspirations. When the very existence of that state is in itself contested, this would be at best a challenge; at worst, it is well-nigh impossible.

The acrimony earlier this year over the centenary stone – which unionists wanted to erect at Stormont (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_location=Stormont) and which was backed by the SDLP and Alliance “in a spirit of generosity” but was vetoed by Sinn Féin – exposed those fractures in the political arena.

For the unionist parties it was symptomatic of just how much more “oppressive” their treatment would be if they were “ever so foolish as to consent to the ‘New Ireland’ that these same deniers of respect seek to promote”. For Sinn Féin’s part, the MLA Pat Sheehan (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_person=Pat+Sheehan) described the stone as “symbolic of the past failures of political unionism”, which were “certainly not a template for the future”.

Living through a century of partition: ‘My mother never forgave the new government’ (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/living-through-a-century-of-partition-my-mother-never-forgave-the-new-government-1.4553692)
· Fintan O’Toole: Partition squeezed out pluralism. We have to let it back in (https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-partition-squeezed-out-pluralism-we-have-to-let-it-back-in-1.4550117)
·‘A state of terror’ – Una McCaffrey on the Dromore murders of April 1921 (https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/a-state-of-terror-una-mccaffrey-on-the-dromore-murders-of-april-1921-1.4547064)

If anniversaries are about the past and the present, it is clear the debate about the North’s centenary is also about that future. What that will be, or how it might be arrived at, remains to be seen. To borrow a phrase from 1968 – another year of significance in the North’s history – Ulster stands at the crossroads. The speech did not save the then prime minister of Northern Ireland, Capt Terence O’Neill, nor prevent Northern Ireland from sliding into the abyss of the Troubles. Though times are much changed, his reference to “those who see in change a threat to our position in the United Kingdom” and his argument that security is to be found in moderation is as relevant as ever.

Five years on from the referendum, the impact of Brexit continues to ricochet through life and politics in the North

At the current crossroads, the pressing alternatives are no longer between self-government or direct rule, but nor do the signposts point simply towards Dublin or London and ask the traveller to choose one or the other.

The questions involved are complex, and have rightly given rise to much debate – around the constitutional arrangements on this island and what these might look like in the future, around the nature of both states, their identity and that of the people within them, and around the relationships between these islands and farther afield.

The catalysts have been well documented. Five years on from the referendum, the impact of Brexit continues to ricochet through life and politics in the North; predictions about a violent loyalist response were borne out over Easter, when anger over the Northern Ireland protocol and long-simmering tensions within loyalist communities boiled over into on-street unrest. Though as it stands the lid has been put back on the pot, last week’s move against Arlene Foster (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_person=Arlene+Foster), which resulted in her resignation as DUP leader and First Minister, began in the grassroots. What has become clearer since is the extent of the disconnect felt between it and unionism’s largest party.

The debate over who will lead the DUP is also a debate about its future leadership and direction, and one which could have even broader consequences. If, as appears likely, Minister for Agriculture Edwin Poots (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_person=Edwin+Poots) – on the religious, Paisleyite wing of the party – becomes leader, this will mollify the grassroots, which felt Foster was too weak on the protocol.

Yet in seeking to bolster that line, it may in fact be sowing the seeds of its own downfall and, potentially, that of the union. A crucial statistic which emerged following the coup against Foster came from David McCann, the deputy editor of the Slugger O’Toole political website, who looked back over past elections and tallied that for every one vote the DUP has lost to the Traditional Unionist Voice (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_organisation=Traditional+Unionist+Vo ice), it lost about three to four to the Alliance Party.

In March, the Orange Order ended its involvement with the Taoiseach’s ‘Shared Island’ unit, criticising the Government’s ‘lack of regard’ for unionism.


Orange Order grand secretary Mervyn Gibson.

In the event of a Border poll, the decision on unity or otherwise will come down not to the roughly 40/40 split between those who vote for nationalist and unionist parties, but to the 20% in the middle who vote Alliance or Green. It follows, therefore, that if the pre-eminent desire of unionism is to secure the union, the way to do so is to persuade the middle ground – whether Catholic or Protestant in affiliation – that Northern Ireland works for them; whether it can do so remains to be seen. Moreover, whatever one’s opinion on the likelihood or indeed the desirability of a unified Ireland, it is clear the debate around it is not going away.

In a recent BBC Spotlight poll, a majority on both sides of the Border thought Northern Ireland would still be part of the UK in a decade’s time, but in 25 years, 51% in the North and 54% in the Republic felt it would have left the UK.

Advocates of a united Ireland, such as the civic nationalist group Ireland’s Future, point also to demographics as evidence the argument is moving only one way; it appears likely that the results of this year’s census will show that, for the first time, Catholics form the largest population bloc in the North. None of this is of any reassurance to unionism, which rejects the assumption that this is inevitable; for many, the notion of inclusive, cross-Border conversations about what a “new Ireland” might look like are in reality a stalking horse for unity.

“It’s a conversation I’m not interested in if the sole agenda is a united Ireland,” the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, the Rev Mervyn Gibson (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_person=Mervyn+Gibson), told The Irish Times last year. In March, the order ended its involvement with the Taoiseach’s ‘Shared Island’ unit, criticising the Government’s “lack of regard” for unionism.

One wonders from whither the next century’s Parnell, Connolly or Hume, or even the later Paisley or McGuinness will come

It is not alone in this viewpoint, yet it is difficult to envisage another way of managing this process which, whatever its outcome, must be tackled with sensitivity. If the example of the North’s recent history has taught us anything, it is that when success has been achieved, it has been through dialogue. To look again to history, intervention from outside – from the Irish and British governments, from the United States (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_location=United+States) – has often yielded results. Certainly there will be a need for patience, diplomacy, even statesmanship in the years to come. One wonders from whither the next century’s Parnell, Connolly or Hume, or even the later Paisley or McGuinness will come.

There are other challenges will be addressed – persistent socioeconomic deprivation and a lack of jobs, of housing, of opportunities. There is also the feeling in certain communities that, more than 20 years after the Belfast (https://www.irishtimes.com/topics/topics-7.1213540?article=true&tag_location=Belfast) Agreement, there has been precious little of a peace dividend. For all the public discourse around the North’s centenary, it was telling that, in conversation last week with a cross-community group of women from west and north Belfast, only a few were even aware of the anniversary and none felt – aside from an excuse for a street party – it bore any relevance to their lives.

Fifty years ago, Northern Ireland’s half century was celebrated with Ulster ’71, an anachronistic expo which extolled everyone to “come and join in the fun” even as parts of Belfast resembled a war zone.

If anniversaries tell us more about the present than the past, then at least this year’s centenary has acknowledged some of the complexities of that past. Much more will be required in the future. How that future will unfold is impossible to predict. At least, unlike in Ulster in ’71, in Northern Ireland ’21 – for all its current difficulties and the uncertainty ahead – there is the Belfast Agreement to provide a cross-community structure and a reconciliatory philosophy that – with strong and careful leadership from Dublin, London and Belfast – could ensure that whatever does unfold does so peacefully.

Irish Times, Dublin:
Northern Ireland at a crossroads as partition centenary ... (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/northern-ireland-at-a-crossroads-as-partition-centenary-underlines-division-1.4553701)

03 V 2021.

Queen marks 100 years of NI with tribute to peace

(https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56966270)Queen Elizabeth marks centenary of Northern Ireland with tribute to people and peace process.

Northern Ireland (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/northern_ireland)

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Historians declare 3 May as birthdate of N Ireland (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56938540)
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Wednesday, September 15th, 2021, 07:17 PM
The DUP’s Strangford MLA Peter Weir has written to the Irish President asking if his office is joining the SDLP and SF in boycotting events which mark Northern Ireland's centenary.

Mr Weir said,

“The Republic of Ireland’s President has turned down an invitation to a service in Armagh marking the centenary of Northern Ireland. I have written to the Irish President asking if his office is officially snubbing all events marking this milestone in the decade of centenaries.

If President Higgins is officially snubbing NI Centenary events, I have urged him to think again. This island has a been living through a decade of centenary milestones. At every stage unionism has engaged positively and sought to use such events to advance reconciliation and peace.

It is narrowminded and deeply disappointing that Sinn Fein and the SDLP have vetoed almost every publicly funded initiative to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary. They even vetoed the placement of a centenary stone in Parliament Buildings even though it was being gifted by unionist MLAs.

For such high office in the Republic of Ireland to join Sinn Fein and the SDLP in boycotting centenary events speaks volumes about that country’s commitment to reconciliation and progress.”

Is President Higgins Boycotting NI Centenary? | DUP (https://mydup.com/news/is-president-higgins-boycotting-ni-centenary) 15 IX 2021.

Is President Higgins of the Republic of Ireland Boycotting NI Centenary by, without reason, turning down - an invitation to a service in Armagh marking the centenary of Northern Ireland attended by the Queen?

Of course he is, all 5' 3'' or 160 cm of him. The 'humanist' pappa Smurf dare not.