Northern Ireland is a great country, full of potential and bouncing back after the dark days of the Troubles. Despite the negativity generated by some, there has been a growing pride in Northern Ireland and the achievements of its people, coinciding with the restoration of devolution. There is a clear opportunity to build pride amongst everyone in Northern Ireland and in particular, our future generations.
The achievements of our sporting heroes like Rory McIlroy, Carl Frampton and the Northern Ireland football team have contributed to this process.
Northern Ireland has been showcased to the world through successfully hosting major events like the MTV awards, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, the Tall Ships and the Giro D’Italia.
The DUP has been to the fore of promoting Northern Ireland across the globe. An example was the ’NI 2012 Our Time, Our Place’ tourism campaign in 2012. This helped attract 1,000,000 visitors to Northern Ireland and was worth over £40 million to the local economy. This year we are showcasing our strengths in the agri-food sector with our NI Year of Food and Drink.
The DUP sees this as only the beginning of what Northern Ireland can be at home and abroad. With Northern Ireland fast approaching its centenary year in 2021, we want to see more people, regardless of their community background, taking pride in Northern Ireland. 2021 presents us all with the opportunity to build positively on the events of recent years and to develop a series of events and initiatives that will celebrate this historic milestone and build community pride.
This is our plan to help us all take pride in Northern Ireland.
1. MORE INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
The DUP believes we can continue to shine on the international stage by securing more and bigger international events. The DUP believes we should be seeking to attract events such as:
the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, building on the outstanding success of the Giro D’Italia in 2013;
- after hosting the Commonwealth Youth games in 2021, a bid to host a future Commonwealth Games in Belfast should be developed and
- the 2023 Rugby World Cup with stadiums in Northern Ireland playing a major role in the tournament.
2. A PUBLIC HOLIDAY AND FULL 2021 CENTENARY PROGRAMME
Northern Ireland was established as a legal entity on 5 May 1921. This date should be made a one-off public holiday in 2021 and a full programme of events for the year developed to celebrate and examine our history.
3. THE FIRST CHILDREN OF OUR NEW CENTURY
The DUP believes that 2021 should not be marked solely by events but also by illustrations of our values. In our centenary year, every child born will receive a Baby Box with every child having an equal start. This Baby Box will be based on the long-established and highly successful Finnish model.
4. OUR LIVING INHERITANCE
In our centenary year, we should recognise all of those who have lived through our first 100 years. Each Centenarian in Northern Ireland will receive an award of £1,000 and a personal oral history project to document their memories.
5. A LASTING LEGACY
The DUP wants a lasting legacy to the centenary celebrations. It will support public art and environmental projects such as a centenary wood and a centenary greenway.
6. FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MILITARY COVENANT
Our pride in Northern Ireland is matched by our pride for those who serve and have served in our Armed Forces. The present estimate of 95% implementation of the Military Covenant here is unacceptable to us. The DUP wants to secure the full implementation of the Military Covenant and see the end of any legal barriers to its full enjoyment by servicemen/women and veterans.
7. OUR NATIONAL FLAG
An open and full expression of pride should include the display of our national symbols. The DUP remains committed to the display of the national flag from public buildings on a ‘365 day’ basis.
8. INSTITUTE OF ULSTER-SCOTS
The DUP is committed to establishing the Institute of Ulster-Scots to drive forward a positive research and educational agenda for this vital strand of Northern Ireland’s identity.