East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has expressed disappointment at the response from both elected representatives such as SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood and wider civic nationalism to the inclusion of Seamus Heaney in branding to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland.
He said, "The decade of centenaries is drawing to a close with events that will mark the centenary of Northern Ireland. Throughout the last ten years there will have been differing perspectives on various events which ultimately shaped our history. Whilst there may have been differing levels of engagement in these events, what people wished to see however was positive, mature and responsible leadership on all sides.
The branding for the centenary on this website is wholly inclusive and there rightly would have been much criticism had it been seen to only reflect those of us who strongly cherish and support being part of the United Kingdom. The response from some elected representatives however has demonstrated a lack of generosity and an unwillingness to display the kind of positive leadership they themselves said was necessary from us all. Unfortunately there have been no voices coming forward from within civic nationalism either to offer that leadership.
Events over the course of the next year marking this significant milestone will be structured to allow both celebration and reflection. Most significantly however is that the centenary is not just about looking back, but should be focused on looking forward to the Northern Ireland we want in the future. I hope that those who responded with such a lack of generosity will reflect that their words will be interpreted by many not as a commentary on Northern Ireland's past, but on their attitude to shaping our common story into the future.
Events of the past cannot be changed. We do however have the opportunity to shape the future and build a Northern Ireland for the next generations. I hope that everyone will commit to playing a positive role in that task."