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The following article appeared in the Sunday Times (Scotland) on June 17th 2001 .

At last it appears that a major Day of Burns Celebrations, and the huge potential such an event could offer, is making progress on the political agenda thanks to The Scottish Parliament and the efforts of - Alan Wilson MSP, Deputy Minister for Sport, the Arts and Culture, David Mundell MSP, and others. (more power to yer political elbows !)

With the ear of the government now tuning in more regularly to this topic, perhaps the pending World Burns Federation Conference in Atlanta offers an excellent catalyst to keep this topic on the agenda for good.

The article reads as follows:-

By Joanne Robertson


"IT IS the kind of party Robert Burns would have enjoyed: supper at the castle, music, song and poetry - and 24-hour drinking in pubs and clubs.
Billed as a cultural festival to rival Ireland's St Patrick's Day, Burns's birthday on January 25 is to become an international tourism event.

Proud tradition:
piping in the haggis on Burns Night

Allan Wilson, the arts minister, has a £1m budget and organisers hope to tap into a worldwide love of Burns that leads people with Scottish ancestry to hold 20,000 Burns suppers at venues as far away as Tokyo, Fiji and Houston - where 900 Texans take part.
One highlight could be a supper at Edinburgh Castle, hosted by Scotland's first minister and with statesmen including President George W Bush and Tony Blair as guests of honour.

Wilson, who lives in Ayrshire at the heart of Burns country, said: "Robert Burns is our greatest cultural icon, yet until now there has been very little official support for the world-wide recognition of his memory. I intend to change that."

He plans to mark the day by waiving admission charges at theatres and museums and extending licensing hours to allow round-the-clock drinking on the weekend closest to January 25. The culture minister believes the celebration could boost tourism to Scotland, particularly from North America where there are many Burns clubs. Few tourists visit Scotland just after Hogmanay.

Wilson is expected to discuss his plans at the Robert Burns World Federation congress in Atlanta in July. He says he is keen to involve the private sector in backing events across Scotland to mark Burns Night.

But Mike Russell, the SNP MSP and a Burns devotee, says he is suspicious of plans to promote Burns Night when there is already considerable interest in St Andrew's Day and Tartan Day in the United States.

The plans will be implemented by the Scottish executive's major events unit, which will also promote Scotland's Ryder Cup bid

Article taken from The Sunday Times - 17th June 2001