MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON THURSDAY,
8TH DECEMBER, 2011 AT 11am
THE OFFICE OF THE HIGH SHERIFF, BELFAST
Dr. Ian Adamson, Co-Chair
Senator Martin McAleese, Co-Chair
Mr. Jackie McDonald
Mr. George Newell
Mr. Sean Murray
Mr. Eamon Phoenix
Mr. Tom Hartley
Ms. Catherine Butler, Secretary to the Committee
Professor Wesley Hutchinson
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING:
(Thursday, 29 September, 2011)
Martin McAleese summarised the Minutes of the Meeting held on Thursday, 29 September 2011.
A wide ranging discussion took place on the following matters:
1. West Belfast Festival, 15March 2012.
– The need to include an element of Presbyterianism in the Festival. Perhaps members of Berry Street Presbyterian Church could be invited.
– Funding would be required and the Committee needed to explore possible sources for this funding.
2. The need for Principles of Engagement with the “Other” and the use of appropriate language.
Sean Murray indicated that SF was preparing a paper on this and that he would make it available to the Committee.
3. Reading list outlining the historic context of the Centenaries:
Tom Hartley undertook to prepare a reading list for distribution to the Committee Members and also for wider circulation.
4. The Work of Other Committees:
Eamon Phoenix outlined the work of many Committees that had been set up to deal with the issues around the Decade of Sensitive Centenaries. He understood that an I.T. Portal was being set up so that all this work could be shared and it was agreed that the “Posse Committee” should contribute to the Portal.
5. Event(s) in Dublin:
The Committee stressed the need for event(s) in Dublin as part of the Decade’s Commemorations. It was agreed that Martin McAleese would raise this matter with Minister Jimmy Deenihan.
6. Meeting with Security Minister Hugo Swire and newly appointed Head of the NIO, Julian King:
Martin McAleese agreed to set up a meeting between the Committee and the above to inform them of the work of the Committee and to seek support from the NIO.
7. Meeting with Ministers Jimmy Deenihan and Caral Ni Chuilin:
Martin McAleese agreed to set up a meeting between the Committee and the above Ministers, preferably jointly, to inform them of the work of the Committee and to seek support, including funding, from their respective departments.
8. Centenary of the 1912 Balmoral Parade (8 April 1912):
The Unionist Centenary Council (see note) have organised a commemoration of the above to take place on Saturday 12 May 2012 in the Ormeau Park, Belfast.
Five routes to this venue from various parts of Belfast had been identified and agreed. The Committee expressed grave concern about how these routes would be safeguarded to prevent violence erupting as people paraded to and from the venue.
The issue of feeder parades to the starting points was also discussed in terms of crowd management and safety.
9. Committee’s Influence:
It was agreed that the Committee would only have the potential to achieve a small number of reasonable objectives and that it should not stretch its resources. But, it was also agreed that the Committee could and should use its considerable influence to dampen down tensions where ever possible during the Decade.
10. Various Other Matters:
(a) The need to involve young people particularly in marginalised and disadvantaged
Communities, to inform them of the historical context of the Centenaries and to encourage them to show leadership and to take ownership of various events designed by themselves.
(b) The use of the Somme Centre to educate and inform groups of young people of the historical context of the Centenaries.
(c) The importance of the role of shared education in terms of stabilising and consolidating peace.
(d) The need to involve the middle classes and upwardly mobile people. Also, the need to inform the wider public in the South about the history of Loyalism.
(e) The need for schools to become involved in “acts of learning” through field trips and interactions through drama.
(f) The desirability for the Committee to prepare a written proposal in respect of the commemoration of the major centenaries.
(g) The negative impact of the Supergrass Trials on the stability of certain communities.
Date of Next Meeting: To be advised.
NOTE: Membership of the Unionist Centenary Council
– 36th Ulster Division Memorial Association
– Apprentice Boys of Derry
– Confederation of Ulster Bands
– Democratic Unionist Party
– Grand Lodge of Ireland
– Independent Loyal Orange Institution
– Progressive Unionist Party
– Ulster Volunteer Force Memorial Regimental Band Association
– Somme Association
– Traditional Unionist Voice
– Ulster Bands Association
– Ulster Defence Union 1893
– Ulster Unionist Party.