The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues
1.1 To update Members on the proposed governance and delivery approaches for the Decade of Centenaries area of work and the proposed programme for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries. This next phase will cover Decade of Centenaries Commemorations from 2017 up until 2022.
2.1 The Committee is asked to;
· Agree the proposed governance and delivery approaches for the Decade of Centenaries area of work and approve the proposed programme outline for delivery over the coming 6 years. The programme includes activity within the current Council term, with agreement in principle on activity to be delivered following Council elections in 2019. Any activity agreed now, for beyond 2019, would be reviewed at that stage.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 Key Issues
Members will be aware of the programme of work in relation to the Decade of Centenaries, which has been ongoing since 2011. The Decade of Centenaries has been considered by the Diversity Working Group until March of this year, when that group ceased. Council decided at its April meeting that Decade of Centenaries issues would be discussed at the Shared City Partnership from then on.
3.2 In 2011, Members of the then Historic Centenaries Working Group had agreed a three phased approach to the Decade of Centenaries, divided into 3 phases.
3.3 The first period, 1912-1914, was entitled ‘Shared History, Differing Allegiances’. The second period, 1914-1918, would cover the period of World War I, including the Somme and the Easter Rising. This activity, under the banner of ‘Belfast; Reflections on 1916’ was hugely successful. The third period, 1918-1922, would cover the end of WWI, the 1918 elections and the establishment of parliaments in Belfast and Dublin.
3.4 Major exhibitions were commissioned for the Covenant, the Somme and the Easter Rising and there was a Civic Dinner to mark each of these three major historical events. All of this activity, and more, has been delivered thus far.
3.5 In 2016, at the August meeting of the Diversity Working Group, Members requested that officers develop a programme for the remainder of the Decade, to run until 2022.
3.6 Central to the programme, Members requested that:
- Activity being planned would continue with the objective of having a strong Belfast focus, exploring the human stories of lost lives and be respectful.
- The current Principles, agreed in 2011, will inform all activity within the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries
3.7 This programme that has been developed contains a number of themes and a series of events to be delivered within each theme (see appendices 1 and 2)
3.8 At their August meeting, Party Group Leaders agreed to the themes and programme within appendix 1 and 2 to be delivered from 2018 – 2022. The programme for this financial year (appendix 3) was agreed by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in March of this year.
3.9 Members also confirmed that the Shared City Partnership and the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee would form the governance for the programme, with Party Group Leaders also having a regular input into programme development.
3.10 Party Group Leaders also requested that officers explore the possibility of delivering a large exhibition covering the themes within appendix 1 during this final phase of the Decade of Centenaries.
3.11 Members will also be aware of the wider Centenaries programme contained within the draft PEACE IV Plan. This programme will be an engagement programme within communities, whereas the Council’s programme will be more of a Civic Programme of events as has been the case thus far.
3.12 Officers are engaging with the NIO and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ascertain if they have substantial plans to mark the end of World War 1. Further updates will be provided in due course.
3.13 Financial and Resource Implications
All programme activity for the 2017/2018 financial year will be delivered from existing budgets. There is no resource to support delivery beyond March 2018. If members were content, a proposal to provide a portion of costs, up to £20,000 per annum, could be brought to the Shared City Partnership to approve as part of the annual District Council Good Relations Programme. Note, this funding could not be used to cover the costs associated with civic events.
3.14 Equality or Good Relations Implications
The Decade of Centenaries commemorations are part of the Council’s Good Relations Action Plan, which was screened out following a screening exercise.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations.