Derry Culture Bid Wins United Backing

There's a united front today as Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson MLA and the Derry-born-Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have each lent their support to the Derry/Londonderry bid to become UK City of Culture in 2013.

Speaking at an event hosted by Derry City Council in Belfast City Hall, the Ministers said that they believed a successful bid would not only benefit the city but would be an important boost for the community as a whole as well as boosting tourism and local business.

The Derry City Council area bid to become City of Culture 2013 is one of only four cities to be short-listed.

From a pool of 28 bids only four have made it to this stage, the other short-listed cities being Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich. The bid is entitled 'Cracking the Codes'.

Mr McGuinness said: "Being short-listed has given the city of Derry a new lease of life. You cannot fail to notice a buzz around the city and a growing sense of pride and community spirit.

"People believe the City could win the competition and recognise the potential social and economic, as well as cultural benefits that this could bring not only for the Derry city area but the whole of the North West and indeed further afield," he said.

"We now have a real opportunity to showcase the city’s arts and cultural heritage to international visitors and to build on what has already been achieved. To promote a city that is welcoming, safe and inclusive of all.

"Where visitors will want to return to time and time again, where investors will want to work and do business where people will want to live, work and socialise.

"I have always been extremely proud of the city and its people. The way the local communities have been pulling together in support of the bid has been impressive, but not surprising.

"I would just like to add my congratulations to the whole Bid Team on reaching this stage of the competition and to wish them continued success. Success would be a fitting tribute to such a historic, important and vibrant city," the Sinn Fein Minister concluded.

DUP leader, Peter Robinson said: "A successful bid will be good not only for Londonderry and the North West but for the whole of Northern Ireland.

"It has the potential to create untold benefits in terms of regeneration, tourism and the economy among other factors. It could act as the catalyst to help deliver a genuine and influential step change both locally and regionally which will lead to revitalisation, regeneration and long-term sustainability.

"Although not from Londonderry I feel a great sense of pride in what has been achieved so far.

"Getting down to the last four cities out of a pool of 28 is in itself a great accomplishment. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved on getting this far and to wish them every continued success.

"I am sure that your energy and hard work will be rewarded," he said.


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