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North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has called on nationalist and republican parties to take a new approach towards the centenary of Northern Ireland.

The DUP MP said, "Few people can have missed the levels of opposition and criticism from nationalist and republican representatives which accompanies even the briefest mention of Northern Ireland's Centenary.

The generosity which was so often talked about through the rest of the decade of centenaries seems to have been forgotten as we mark the last event in that process.

Events in Derry City & Strabane Council saw both main nationalist parties initially take a step further than declining to participate in events marking the centenary themselves. Their first reaction was to freeze out a significant number of citizens by blocking any events organised by the Council at all. We also had a very depressing reaction to the launch of the centenary campaign last December.

It simply isn't good enough to blame supposed inadequacies of the current Government for the stance which has been taken. These aren't events which either celebrate or reflect on the any politician today, either locally or nationally. Turning criticisms onto the Government simply doesn't wash.

The reactions we have witnessed all too often were not just disappointing, but damaging because unlike many of the other significant events in the decade of centenaries, the centenary of Northern Ireland is as much about looking forward as they are on looking back.

I don't expect nationalists and republicans to join me in the celebrations that will take place to mark the centenary, but standing outside anything which marks this event doesn't send a positive message about working together in building a better future for everyone who lives here. It the place we all share and the place we all call home and I hope the announcement of the centenary programme can be the start of a new approach towards this significant milestone"