PM in Northern Ireland to outline first stage of anniversary plan

Michael McHugh, PA
·2-min read

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline the first stage of plans to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland’s foundation during a visit to the country on Thursday.

A forum and historical advisory panel will work alongside the Government to commemorate the anniversary.

Northern Ireland was created in May 1921 following the partition of Ireland.

The Prime Minister said: “As we mark 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, it is important that we celebrate its people, culture and traditions, along with its vital contribution to the United Kingdom.”

During his visit to Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister will meet First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill to discuss how they can rebuild the economy.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin visits Northern Ireland
Mr Johnson will also meet Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Johnson will also hold his first face-to-face meeting with Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin since the new premier was elected earlier this summer.

They are expected to consider the fight against coronavirus and work on a sustainable economic recovery as well as the UK’s post-Brexit trade negotiations with the EU.

Mr Johnson said the pandemic had demonstrated the strength of the UK and that Westminster and Stormont have worked closely together to get through the crisis.

He promised these close ties will continue.

“As the country begins to get back on its feet in the wake of coronavirus, we cannot simply strive to rebuild, but we must commit to building back stronger than ever.

“I cannot overstate how important the close co-operation that we have seen between central and devolved government will continue to be to this.

“Together, we will make sure Northern Ireland is ready to take full advantage of the many opportunities that lie ahead and that no part of Northern Ireland is left behind.”

The Northern Ireland Executive will receive £2.2 billion additional funding this year for its Covid-19 response.

The Treasury has also protected more than 316,000 jobs and granted thousands of business loans.

Coronavirus – Tue Jul 21, 2020
Brandon Lewis said the centenary year would promote the region on a world stage (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the centenary year would promote the region on a world stage.

He added: “The establishment of a Centenary Forum and Centenary Historical Advisory Panel will offer us the opportunity to work with a broad spectrum of people, including those from across the political parties, business, tourism and the voluntary and community sectors, to deliver an ambitious and exciting programme of events to mark this significant national anniversary for the UK.”