Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Culture Committee

The culture minister has warned against commemorations of historical events being used to justify violence.

Nelson McCausland told the culture, arts and leisure committee on 17 February 2011 about his department's plans to mark key dates.

Culture committee chair Barry McElduff said it was the understanding that the department was taking forward a "commemoration strategy", but that it was now saying there was no such strategy.

The minister said he had consulted arm's length bodies about how to address the issue and the aim was to commemorate 100th and 400th anniversaries which occur in the period 2010-2021.

"My department and the arm's length bodies reached agreement that the themes would be Plantation - 400th anniversary, the Titanic - obviously a major opportunity for Northern Ireland, and then the period 1912-1922," he said.

Mr McElduff said it appeared from departmental correspondence that it was not keen on commemorating The Famine, but the minister said there was nothing preventing individual groups from holding commemorations for various events.

But he warned about them being hi-jacked: "We do not want to create situations where people look to past events as an inspiration to justify violence in the future."

Committee deputy chairperson Declan O'Loan said Northern Ireland's first museum policy needed to be more open about "living in a complex and divided society".

He said there was a "blandness about the document" presented by Mr McCausland.

However, the minister said he wanted to assure members the draft policy included a section looking at a shared future and this would be looked at further when it was implemented.

Culture committee membership



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