Derry launches Irish City of Culture bid

Derry launches Irish City of Culture bid

Londonderry looks set to launch an audacious bid to become the Irish City of Culture.

The proposal, which comes as Derry's UK City of Culture year draws to a close, has been raised by Sinn Féin councillors and is being backed by the main unionist parties and the SDLP.

The Guildhall representatives, following the events of this year, have seen firsthand just how culture can pay its way.

An influx of tourists has boosted the city's coffers even during one of the toughest recessions in living memory.

However, for the proposal to gain any traction, it will mean persuading Dublin-based organisers to allow the event to cross the border into Northern Ireland as the Irish government has no plans to run its City of Culture competition on an all-island basis.

Sinn Féin councillor Barney O'Hagan told UTV: "We believe that we are a cultural capital already.

"We believe Derry is a good news story whether you're from the north of Ireland, whether you're from the south of Ireland, whether you're from the east of Ireland or whether you're from the west of Ireland.

"There's a very positive message coming from this city and I think anybody would want to be a part of that."

DUP representative Alderman Maurice Devenney added: "We supported the motion coming forward with an amendment, and that amendment was very, very clearly that this would not be politicised and would include all the communities here in Londonderry."

The next move, according to Sinn Féin, is to get political parties together with interested stakeholders in this city to convince those in Dublin to allow them to enter the competition to compete against other cities bidding to host the event in five years' time.

© UTV

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