Tribute to COVID heroes is part of £3m programme to mark centenary of Northern Ireland

·2-min read

Boris Johnson is giving his backing to a programme of events to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland in May this year.

The prime minister says the activities will be a tribute to all those in the province who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.

The government is to spend £3m on events during the year to mark the controversial landmark, 100 years after the partition of Ireland in 1921.

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Mr Johnson said: "2021 marks 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, which has paved the way for the formation of the United Kingdom as we know it.

"Our centenary programme will reflect on the past and on the people and developments that make Northern Ireland the great place it is today.

"The activities will pay tribute to all those who have worked tirelessly to support Northern Ireland throughout the pandemic, and will champion the incredible young people in Northern Ireland who offer so much to the shared success of our United Kingdom."

The prime minister hailed the centenary as Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis unveiled a programme of projects and events due to take place during the year.

The government says the programme will include:

• A major Northern Ireland 2021 Business Showcase in London
• A £1m Shared History Fund
• An ambitious programme for young people
• Tree planting projects
• Academic and historic events
• An international church service for all denominations.

Mr Lewis said: "The UK government's centenary programme of events provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on the history of Northern Ireland and to take pride in all this fantastic place has to offer the UK and the world.

"In its 100th year, the people of Northern Ireland can build on their spirit of togetherness and recognise their enormous achievements over past decades.

"I hope that these projects and events will help drive Northern Ireland's post-COVID recovery forward, inspire the next generation and showcase to the world the beauty, innovation and tenacity of the people of Northern Ireland."