World War I: Anniversaries

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered on 12th January 2016.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon Independent, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans the Government has to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Battle of the Somme in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Office has a co-ordinating role as part of the Government’s overall efforts to commemorate the centenaries of World War One events. Our aim is to ensure that these events, including for the Battle of the Somme, are commemorated in Northern Ireland in a manner which promotes reconciliation and enhances prospects for a peaceful, shared future.

Officials from my Department sit on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Programme Board for First World War Centenary Commemorations. They also have regular contact with officials in the Northern Ireland Executive and sit on the Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee chaired by Jeffrey Donaldson MP.

I receive regular updates on this work and both the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and I will be in attendance at a number of events being planned to mark the Battle of the Somme centenary. These events will take place in Northern Ireland and France.

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