Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“As the exhibition of Stormont artefacts draws to a close, I have written to express my thanks to the Assembly Commission for organising the event and to call for the provision of a permanent display of these and other artefacts owned by the Assembly.
“I have received many messages of appreciation in respect of the exhibition. A recurrent theme of these messages is dismay that the exhibits may be hidden away again, unable to be viewed and enjoyed by the public who own them.
“Many of these items are of particular significance and interest as we approach the centenary of Northern Ireland’s formation and whatever one thinks of those events surely we can all recognise the historic nature of the events.
“Portraits of former Prime Ministers JM Andrews and Viscount Craigavon, as well as others should remain on display. Yet they and other items, like the books recording the names of the civilian war dead from the Second World War and a beautiful relief map of Northern Ireland, seem set to be hidden under dust sheets again. Why should the display of the names of the civilian war dead offend anyone? And why should the taxpayer, who owns these items, pay £11,000 pa to hide them in a warehouse?”