‘Decade of commemorations will test North’s political maturity’ – Bradley
The forthcoming decade of commemorations will be a “critical test” of the North’s “political maturity”, local SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley has said.
Speaking ahead of an Assembly motion on events and initiatives aimed at commemorating the centenary of the Great War, Bradley said commemorations “must be inclusive if we are to attract a broad range of visitors” but “they must never be used to entrench division”.
He told Newry Times, “In the coming decade, this generation has the greatest duty ever to be placed on a generation of Irish democrats, be they British-Irish, Irish-Irish, Northern-Irish, Ulster Unionist, and it is the duty to ensure that history becomes a foundation stone and not a yoke.
“This forthcoming decade of centenaries, and how and why events of various types are commemorated, will be a critical test of our political maturity,” he insisted.
The Newry and Armagh MLA challenged the Executive to deliver a programme of commemorations to appeal to people around the globe.
“These historic centenaries have the real potential to boost our tourism industry and provide a much needed boost to the economy,” he said. “The approach adopted by the Executive must be underpinned by a set of agreed principles and protocols informing an ethical, critical and factual remembrance.”
“There are few families across the island of Ireland that were not impacted by the Great War, and it is fitting to commemorate that in a dignified and appropriate way,” he said.
Bradley added, “The SDLP believe commemorative events must be open to fresh interpretation based on the facts as they emerge. The sometimes silent alternative stories must also be heard.”
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