C S Lewis Festival 2015

Culture, Arts and Leisure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 24th November 2015.

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Photo of Sammy Douglas Sammy Douglas DUP 3:15 pm, 24th November 2015

T7. Mr Douglas asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure whether she agrees that events such as those that were held very successfully in east Belfast last week as part of the C S Lewis Festival are the sorts of initiatives that we should be supporting at local level, in that they involve children, young people and a lot of elderly people. (AQT 3197/11-16)

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

I absolutely agree. The festival, along with EastSide Arts, has grown from strength to strength, particularly in recent years. The Member has been very supportive and, in fairness to him, very fair and genuine in his approach to ensure that east Belfast receives support. One of the best stories that it has — apart from Van Morrison, whom I am sure the Member will mention — is the whole C S Lewis narrative and its association with that part of the city. I have supported it and will continue to do so.

Photo of Sammy Douglas Sammy Douglas DUP

The Minister today attended the unveiling of the C S Lewis and Seamus Heaney portraits. Does she agree that that is the sort of positive image that we need to project from Stormont? Does she have any ideas about expanding that to bring in the likes of the late George Best, the tenth anniversary of whose untimely death is tomorrow?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

As the Member will know, I am open to suggestions that provide a space and a legacy for citizens right across the North. I picked up on the Member's point that those are the first two portraits here of non-parliamentarians, and I think that that sends out a good message. It is also good because Seamus Heaney and C S Lewis's books and the story around them have provided inspiration for others engaged in the arts who are coming behind them. The more people who come to the Building — there are many, and that is good — and see ordinary people who have done extraordinary things for us acknowledged in these halls, the better.