Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “I was disappointed that a number of separate events were recently held for St Patrick ‘s Day. In 2012 we should be working to ensure that all celebrations are organised on a shared basis rather than in this divided manner.
“We are meant to be trying to market Northern Ireland as a place for tourists to visit this year but we would be sending out the wrong message if events are not celebrated in a shared manner.
“Following a motion brought to the Assembly by the Alliance Party, the Executive recently agreed that they would bring together a strategy to organise the commemorations for the upcoming decade of centenaries. We were keen for this to happen as this decade of centenaries presents an opportunity to bring together our society around events that are still sensitive a century later. The tourist and economic boom that these centenaries could potentially provide to our economy could also be damaged by the failure to organise these events on shared and inclusive manner.
“But we should not just be looking at ensuring that the big international events are celebrated in a shared manner but indeed all events. This is particularly important if we are to build a shared future and break down divisions in our society.”