Northern Ireland

Hugo Swire warns dissidents may target centenary events

Northern Ireland Minister Hugo Swire has warned about the possibility of dissident groups using upcoming centenaries for their own purposes.

The issue of commemorations was raised during a debate at Westminster.

The centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising are in 2016.

Mr Swire said Stormont must take the lead to ensure those who sought to undermine the political process were not able to do so.

"These are the people who oppose forbearance and oppose conciliation," he said.

"These are the people who will try and use important anniversaries to further their own regressive agenda.

"As we move towards a decade of anniversaries we should talk of commemoration and less of celebration."

Mr Swire was responding to Ms Long who called on the British and Irish governments to consider how centenaries such as the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising should be commemorated.

The East Belfast MP said there needs to an approach involving the two governments and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Speaking in Westminster the Alliance deputy leader said commemorations need to be organised in an inclusive way, otherwise there was a danger of exclusive and triumphalist celebrations.