Chris Lyttle MLA said: “I welcome the fact that the Executive has realised the importance of agreeing a plan to co-ordinate the commemorations of a number of centenaries over the next ten years. Many of these events are still very emotive a hundred years later and a failure to agree a plan could have resulted in many of these celebrations being divisive.
“There is such a broad range of events which will be marked in this coming decade from the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the battle of the Somme, the Easter Rising and the partition of Ireland. We have a real opportunity to use these commemorations as a way to bring all sides of the community together and increase the public’s understanding of these events, many of which we can trace the current divisions in our society back to.
“By agreeing to a plan, these events should now be marked in an inclusive and shared manner for all to come and learn and celebrate what happened in such an important period of Ireland’s history.
“The Alliance Party held a debate in the Assembly in February which was passed, so I am glad that the Executive has decided to act following our call for a plan such as this to be agreed. My colleague Naomi Long MP also secured a debate in Westminster on this issue where she highlighted the fact that many of these events will be marked in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, so we will need to collaborate with their plans.
“This will very much be a work in progress and a lot of hard work and effort will be needed to make these commemorations a success.
“I will continue to look at the executive’s plans as more details are agreed to ensure that these centenaries are marked in a way that will not only bring Northern Ireland together but also in a way that will attract tourists.”