22 May 2022

Council agree workshop to iron out centenary events

A Sinn Féin councillor described the original paper as 'extremely vague'.

Council agree workshop to iron out centenary events

Mid Ulster District Council will hold a workshop in advance of a range of activities to mark 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland.

The move comes as the Decade of Anniversaries paper, which has a budget of £72,000, was passed at a meeting of the Council's Development Committee last week.

A Sinn Féin motion proposing a workshop to finalise the detail of the events was also passed alongside the paper.

The proposal was made by Cllr Cora Corry, with Cllr Niamh Doris describing the existing paper as 'extremely vague' in the discussion that followed.

DUP councillor Kim Ashton objected to the Sinn Féin motion, and said the paper was 'very balanced'. She challenged the party to prove its commitment to equality and inclusivity.

“We understand that not everybody within the community will want to take part in them, but they are certainly open, and some of the events allow for the discussions that have been raised,” she said.

“I think it's about showing respect to each other and being able to mark different anniversaries in a manner that this district can be a community for everybody.

“We are always being told by our colleagues across the way to bring forward proposals that allow people from our community to mark these events in a way that's inclusive for everybody.

“I think this is an opportunity for this council to actually show that we are going to be inclusive to the whole community.”

Cllr Barry Monteith.

Compromise was reached when Independent councillor Barry Monteith suggested the paper be approved alongside the organisation of a workshop to finalise the events.

“I've no difficulty with people having talks. In around the 2016 period the council did it quite maturely and it was balanced,” he told the council.

“A lot of people stretched themselves and went to things they maybe wouldn't have gone to before. I thought, by and large, we got it right and I have confidence we can do the same here.”

UUP councillor Walter Cuddy welcomed the constructive nature of the discussion.

“It's a good debate. We're going to spend £72,000 here, we want it to be good news instead of all of us at each other's throats,” he added.

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