Monday, 31 May 2010

The Ulster Museum controversy (4)

Yesterday the Sunday World reported that it had copies of the minutes of a meeting that I held with the chairman and some of the trustees of the National Museums of Northern Ireland on 28 April 2010. 

Not only has someone leaked the letter that I sent to the chairman but they have also leaked minutes of a meeting with a number of trustees.  This confirms my point that the malign individual who leaked the letter and now the minutes has no respect for the museum or the trustees.

Of course the Sunday World started its article by claiming that 'The Minister wants the museum bedecked with Orange flags,' but then the Sunday World has been known to engage from time to time in sensationalism and exaggeration!  The word 'bedeck' means to 'decorate lavishly' and the inclusion of an Orange banner would not, by any stretch of the imagination, fit the description of 'decorate lavishly'.  At present there is a trade union banner on the wall and no one would suggest that the museum is 'bedecked' with trade union banners.

During the course of that meeting on 28 April I simply suggested that some artefacts associated with the Orange Order might be displayed in the Ulster Museum.  After all, what s a museum without artefacts?  There is already a trade union banner up on the wall of the museum and there is no reason why the museum could not add banners to represent some of the fraternal organisations, including the Orange Order.


  1. When the Minister for Culture writes to the Ulster Museum he should expect his letter to be in the public domain. He is not writing as a private individual going about their private business. He is writing as a government representative and therefore everything should be open and above board. There should be no need for anyone to leak anything because everything should be in the public domain any way.

  2. Les - Everything should be open and above board and there is a greater transparency about government than ever before. One of the main aspects of this is the Freedom of Information Act, something that I have used myself many times in the past to access information. Indeed I have implemented a number of changes to make more information available to the public on the internet.

    However for someone to leak a letter that has been sent to a public body, before the body has had an opportunity to consider the letter or respond to it, is totally inappropriate. It shows that there is someone in the system with no respect for either the board or the body.