19 April 2012: Presbyterian Conference: ‘Citizenship, Covenant and Christ’, Belfast

On 19 April 2012 Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, spoke at a conference of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to mark the centenary year of the signing of the Ulster Covenant.


Minister Deenihan participated in this conference in the context of the National Commemorative Programme for the Decade of Centenaries prepared under his direction. This event featured contributions by, among others, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Dara Calleary TD, and a keynote address by The Most Reverend & Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, entitled ‘Christian Citizenship Today’.


Speaking about the event, Minister Deenihan noted that ‘the signing of the Ulster Covenant was an important milestone in the history of the Home Rule and independence movements in Ireland. I am delighted to have the opportunity to address members of the Presbyterian Church on the topic, and to broaden my understanding of the different perspectives on our shared history.’


Minister Deenihan went on to outline his plans for the Decade of Commemorations, saying that ‘in the coming years, I will work with interested parties from all sectors of society to develop a framework for a commemorative programme that acknowledges the key developments and addresses the issues in society at that time. In our exploration, we must address the issues of identity and culture that informed the actions of communities and leaders at that time. We will consider the extent to which the effects of 19th century changes such as emancipation, land reform, the Great Famine and migration shaped the demand for Home Rule and substantial national autonomy. Our interest will not be restricted to the island of Ireland but should also include the Irish abroad, particularly in the Great War, and the implications of the Irish question for the wider Empire.’


For Minister Deenihan’s speech, click here.


From History Ireland: The Ulster covenant.


Listen to the History Ireland Hedge School: ‘The Ulster Covenant 1912: An exercise in democracy or reaction?’


Or watch the recording here.


Explore the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) online exhibition on the Ulster Covenant.


Photos of the Event – Click to View

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