Events to mark NI's centenary revealed

Credit: UTV

An extensive programme of planned events to mark Northern Ireland's centenary has been revealed.

The Prime Minister says it will champion young people of the future.

Meanwhile, it will also pay tribute to those who worked tirelessly to support the region during the pandemic.

The plans for 2021 include:

  • A major business showcase in London, a £1 million

  • Shared History Fund

  • Ambitious programme for young people, tree-planting projects, academic and historic events and an international church service for all denominations.

Mr Johnson said: "2021 marks 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, which has paved the way for the formation of the UK as we know it.

Nationalists and unionists hold sharply differing views of the history of Northern Ireland, on its past governance and public representation, the security situation including decades of conflict, seismic events like the Second World War or the civil rights movement, over issues like public housing, freedom to demonstrate and equal voter representation.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged contemporary themes.

The initiatives reflect the UK Government's commitment under the New Decade New Approach deal which restored Stormont powersharing, to showcase the region more widely.

A total of £1 million has been awarded to 39 community projects to research and demonstrate what 100 years of Northern Ireland has meant to them and their community.

Belfast City Council will host an event at the City Hall marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament in the building on June 22 1921, by King George V.

Every school will be presented with a native tree to plant in their grounds.

They will be encouraged to video their planting ceremony and upload what the Government said was their moment in marking the centenary and working towards a greener future.

An extensive young people's programme will explore what the future will look like in the next 100 years.

Live performance, radio and social media will showcase their hopes and ambitions.

The "Centenary Rose", a flower the Government said would represent reflection and hope, will be produced in Northern Ireland and planted in the gardens of the royal residence at Hillsborough Castle in Co Down.

A Centenary Rose will be presented to the Queen for her own garden and there will be a decorative rose pin designed and produced in the UK, to be worn by VIPs at centenary events and given to programme participants.

An international church service for all denominations will be held in the autumn, followed by a reception at Hillsborough Castle.

On the same day historic buildings across the UK will be lit to signify a bright future for all.

London will host a Northern Ireland 2021 Business Showcase.

Companies and organisations from across the region will promote their products, services and expertise while meeting representatives from international companies, governments and investors.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: "The UK Government's centenary programme of events provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on the history of Northern Ireland and to take pride in all this fantastic place has to offer the UK and the world.

"In its 100th year, the people of Northern Ireland can build on their spirit of togetherness and recognise their enormous achievements over past decades.