Northern Ireland Centenary Stone

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland Assembly Commission – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 15th March 2022.

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Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice 3:00 pm, 15th March 2022

9. Mr Allister asked the Assembly Commission whether it will revisit the request to site a Northern Ireland centenary stone in the grounds of Parliament Buildings. (AQO 3297/17-22)

Photo of Robbie Butler Robbie Butler UUP

I thank the Member for his question. As he will be aware, the Assembly Commission agreed an approach to the decade of centenaries that requires that any Assembly Commission decisions to mark centenaries be agreed by consensus.

The Assembly Commission agreed a programme of events for the centenary. However, political consensus could not be reached on the proposal for a centenary stone when it was considered previously. While it is possible for the Assembly Commission to reconsider any proposal made to it, the issue would remain one of being able to reach a political consensus.

Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice

By "consensus" the Member means that it is subject to the bigotry of the Sinn Féin veto. That is why the issue has never been addressed. If it was in the capacity of the Commission to address the platinum jubilee to the limited extent that it did, one would think that it was surely not beyond it to address the centenary of the country that the Assembly purports to preside over.

Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party

Before the Commission member responds, I caution Members about the use of certain terminology. Be careful in your use of words, please. OK, Mr Butler.

Photo of Robbie Butler Robbie Butler UUP

I thank the Member for his supplementary question. He will know that I am here to reflect the Assembly Commission’s corporate and agreed position rather than my personal view. It is no secret that there were different views in the Assembly Commission on the matter, but that reflects the politics of the Assembly itself.