Stormont artefacts on display for limited time
The dust covers were removed yesterday from a treasure trove of artefacts which had once adorned the halls of Stormont.
Assembly members and media outlets were invited to view the paintings and memorabilia which have been stored for more than two decades at a facility in Dunmurry.
The items included paintings of Field Marshall Montgomery and NI’s first prime minister Viscount Craigavon, as well as a scale model of Thiepval Tower and the ceremonial wig from the first speaker of the NI Assembly.
Also in storage is a table from Derrymore House where it is thought the provisional terms of the Act of Union were agreed upon in 1800.
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While there was a lot of media interest in the artefacts, only one MLA arrived to view the items – Jim Allister of the TUV – the man who has been campaigning to have them taken out of storage.
Mr Allister said the removal of the items from Stormont was “political correctness gone mad”.
Johnny Andrews, the great grandson of NI’s second prime minister JM Andrews, who features in one of the stored paintings by Frank McElvey, supported Mr Allister’s campaign to have the artefacts put back on display.
An Assembly spokesperson said: “While a small number of the artefacts and artwork held by the Assembly Commission are currently in off site storage, most are either on permanent public display, in other parts of Parliament Buildings or on long term loan to other locations. Once the Assembly appoints a new Commission, it will be open to it to consider the merits of an exhibition of artwork in Parliament Buildings.”