As Chair of the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations (APCGC) I reconvened the group last October and our initial meeting was well attended with good engagement and a wide range of perspectives were offered on the themes anticipated over the second phase of the Decade of Centenaries. The group is composed of members of the Oireachtas and the SDLP and Alliance political parties in Northern Ireland.
The Group is consultative in nature - funding to underpin and support elements of the Decade of Centenaries Programme will be administered directly by my Department. The process by which funding is administered will be informed by my consultation with partners and relevant stakeholder bodies. I have allocated €1.1m to support the Decade of Centenaries Programme in 2019. This is €250k above the funding level in 2018 and I will seek to continue to adequately and appropriately resource the programme in future years.
I have recently published the Guidance Report of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Commemorations and this important and very valuable advice will help inform our next meeting of the All-Party Group.
I look forward to future meetings of both groups to explore and address appropriate commemoration of the events and milestones in the period covered by the next phase of the Decade of Centenaries. Both groups are due to meet shortly.
My Department will also continue to consult and collaborate with a wide range of relevant stakeholders, including the local authority network, in developing the State commemorative programme out to 2023.