In a meeting with NIO Minister of State Robin Walker, North Antrim Traditional Unionist Voice Assembly Member Jim Allister set out his party’s vision and expectations for the centenary in 2021 of the creation of Northern Ireland.
A TUV statement said: ‘Among the proposals put by TUV were the following:-
‘Since the centenary marks not just the creation of Northern Ireland but the U.K. as presently constituted, this must be a national celebration;
‘A visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Royal address to the Northern Ireland Assembly and large scale Garden Party;
‘The flying of the national flag on all public buildings on each key date;
‘An additional public holiday in or about 3rd May;
‘A Red Arrows fly past and visit of leading Royal Navy vessels;
‘A special Royal Mail stamp collection;
‘A specially minted commemorative coin, with presentation to every schoolchild and centenary specific classroom materials;
‘A specially commissioned logo to brand and promote all events;
‘A U.K. Government cabinet meeting in Belfast to mark the centenary with Prime Ministerial promotional visits to key tourist attractions;
‘An exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery in London of key NI figures in sports, military, arts, politics etc over our first 100 years, which would then tour the rest of the U.K.;
‘Promotion of Northern Ireland industry, including our food and drink products;
‘Special honour and remembrance of all security personnel who gave their lives in defence of Northern Ireland, with a particular focus at the 2021 Remembrance Event in the Royal Albert Hall.
‘Mr Allister stressed to the Government that it must take control of the organising of the celebrations because if left to the Stormont Executive they would be neutered by the pernicious Sinn Fein veto.
‘Mr Allister also stressed that these events were about celebrating Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom and, therefore, they were not an occasion to be muddied by Dublin involvement.
‘Finally, the TUV leader reminded Minister Walker the current government was elected on a pledge to “never be neutral on the Union”. (Conservative Election Manifesto 2019).
‘2021 should, therefore, be one of celebration for Northern Ireland and a year when the rest of the country is reminded that the UK is – in the words of the Tory manifesto – “stronger and richer for Northern Ireland being part of it”.’
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