One of my key priorities for the remainder of this year is to continue to progress plans for the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme, with a particular focus on 1) developing specific initiatives for 2020; and 2) continuing to support collaborative relationships with key stakeholders, with a particular focus on local authority engagement.
This year, I allocated €1.1 million to support the Decade of Centenaries programme in 2019, which is a funding increase of €250,000 above the 2018 allocation. I will seek to continue to appropriately resource the programme over the coming period through the annual budgetary estimates process.
Building on the success of the commemorative programme to date, local authorities, our national cultural institutions, trade unions, the media, institutions of learning, and custodians of records, together with creative communities, will all have a leading role in supporting the national conversation about the events of this period and encouraging respectful and authentic engagement, debate and analysis.
I am mindful of the challenges that we face in remembering, in a historically authentic, respectful, measured and inclusive way, the difficult and often deeply personal events that took place on the road to the foundation of the State and in remembering all of those who suffered and who lost their lives during this time.
My objective is to ensure that in remembering this complex period in our history, which includes the Struggle for Independence, the Civil War, the Foundation of the State and Partition, we promote a deeper understanding of the significance of these events, which accepts that the shared historical experience of those years gave rise to very different narratives and memories. It will also take account of sensitivities across communities in Northern Ireland and will continue to recognise that very different perspectives persist on many of these events.
My Department is currently developing specific proposals for a co-ordinated, cross-governmental commemorative programme for 2020 and indicative plans for the remainder of the Decade of Centenaries. This work will continue to be informed and supported by the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations and developed in consultation with the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations. I hope to be in a position to give further details on the programme in due course.