Secretary of State announces £5m legacy memorialisation fund and digitisation project
- Also published by:
- Northern Ireland Office
The UK Government has committed £5m to support the recommendations of a memorialisation strategy that will be commissioned through the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill currently progressing through Parliament.
The UK Government yesterday committed £5m to support the recommendations of a memorialisation strategy that will be commissioned through the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill currently progressing through Parliament.
Secretary of State, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, made the announcement following a visit to the recently opened ‘Northern Ireland: Living with the Troubles exhibition’ at the Imperial War Museum in London.
The expert-led memorialisation strategy will aim to identify, and fund, inclusive new structures and initiatives to remember those who were lost during the conflict, and help ensure that the terrible events of the past can never be allowed to happen again.
Separately, the Government has also confirmed details of a digitisation project to make Troubles-related records held at The National Archives more readily available to all, virtually and free of charge.
The first phase of this is the launch of a new web portal bringing together in one place government files which are focused on the situation in Northern Ireland from 1994 up to and including the signing of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in 1998.
Mr Heaton-Harris said:
It was my privilege to visit the Imperial War Museum’s exhibition on the Northern Ireland Troubles. Showcasing new artefacts and oral histories, this moving exhibition is an excellent example of how we can remember and learn from the events of the past in an inclusive way through multiple experiences.
I’m therefore delighted that the UK Government has today committed £5m to support the recommendations of the memorialisation strategy that will be commissioned through the Government’s Legacy Bill.
It will build on important work that has already been done in this space, while taking account of international best-practice. Most importantly, it will seek to work on the basis of consensus, providing opportunities for victims, families, civil society and other interested parties to contribute and shape outcomes. I look forward to announcing further details in due course.
Commenting on the digitisation project, Mr Heaton-Harris added:
I welcome the launch of this online initiative which demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making accessible as much information as possible about an important period of Northern Ireland’s complex history. By encouraging reflection and consideration of our Troubled past, we can hopefully recognise the progress made since the signing of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and towards a shared and more prosperous future.
Note to Editors:
The link to the digitisation portal can be found here via The National Archives.
This will be a valuable resource for members of the public, journalists, educational institutions, researchers and academics particularly those interested in conflict resolution, peace negotiations and political settlements.
More files will be released on a phased basis relating to key moments in the history of the Troubles in line with the Legacy Bill for the period 1 January 1969-10 April 1998.
Part 4 of the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, at clause 44, requires organisations designated by the Secretary of State to carry out a study of current Troubles-related memorialisation activities, and make recommendations of new initiatives. The strategy must be published after one year and provide opportunities for interested organisations and members of the public to contribute.
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