MLAs back a call for funding WW1 commemorations

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MLAs backed a call for funding the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, on 2 June 2014.

Stephen Moutray acknowledged "the total horror of war".

He said the well-known motto "Lest we Forget" was central to the motion.

"Whatever is done it must be done well and to be done well it must be funded," Mr Moutray said.

Sinn Fein's Cathal O Hoisin expressed disappointment that an amendment referring to all the centenaries of 1912 to 1922, had not been accepted by the business committee.

He described recent commemorations of the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the Larne gun running as "little more than militaristic fancy dress parades".

Karen McKevitt of the SDLP backed the call for funding and said the significant contribution of the Irish Catholic community should not be lost.

She said there should be opportunities for individuals to trace their family history to identify if ancestors fought in the war.

Ulster Unionist Michael Copeland spoke of the sacrifice made by Irish soldiers "on a scale that is almost beyond comprehension in this day and age".

Kieran McCarthy of Alliance said the commemoration of the war should not become " a political football".

The TUV's Jim Allister said the culture minister wanted to elevate "the grubby rebellion of 1916" to the level of the sacrifice of the First World War.

Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said the events of 1912-22 "resonate to this very day".

"DCAL (Department of Culture Arts and leisure) have led on this and we will continue to lead on this," she said.

The minister called on MLAs to show tolerance and to refrain from points-scoring, or being belligerent.

The motion was passed on an oral vote.

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