Derry's Peace Bridge opened

Published Saturday, 25 June 2011
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A bridge, nicknamed the Peace Bridge, which links two communities in Londonderry has officially been opened.

The pathway over the River Foyle runs from behind the Guildhall Square on to the Parade Ground in the former Ebrington Barracks creating an important new link from the Waterside to the city side.

It cost £13.4m and took a year and a half to build and hundreds of schoolchildren gathered on the bridge on Saturday to sing at the official opening.

It was opened to the public by EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn and Taoiseach Enda Kenny was also present, alongside the First and deputy First Ministers.

Peter Robinson said the bridge was a "significant piece of infrastructure" for the city:

"The bridge encourages the creation of a larger city - a shared city, a welcoming city, a city that is moving forward with a very real sense of pride, an abundance of talent and a lot of confidence and hope for the future.

"The Peace Bridge has a significant role to play as one of our most valuable cultural assets, promising to draw tourists in huge numbers that will guarantee economic benefits."

Construction work on the 235m long, four meter wide bridge began in January 2010 as part of the city's regeneration programme, with funding from Europe.

It illuminates at night, allows leisure craft to pass safely at high tide and provides pedestrian and cycle access from the Cityside to the regenerated Ebrington site and St Columb's Park.

The opening will be followed by the switching on of 'Mute Meadow', a new public artwork which features a field of steel columns arranged in pairs along the waterfront.

Martin McGuinness was joined at the event by the Social Development Minister, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure and OFMDFM Junior Minister Martina Anderson.

He emphasised that moving forward needs to be a unified process.

"Change cannot happen without the full support of us all," said Mr McGuinness.

"So it is up to you, me, my colleagues in the Executive and the Assembly to continue to work positively together to build upon the good work that has already been done -recognising that differences still exist but respecting those differences.

Also speaking at the event the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland added: "Over time the bridge will become an iconic representation that will define this city.

"Physically and metaphorically it links what now are two communities and we hope will encourage greater levels of positive engagement between them.

"It represents our aspirations to work towards a shared and welcoming city that everyone in the community enjoys and can feel welcome in."

© UTV News
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8 Comments
Henry Jones in London wrote (1,069 days ago):
Sorry to dissapoint you all but the first person on the bridge was Robert Mc gonigle. I took the photo 3 weeks before the bridge was opened. We sneaked in behind the barriers and walked on the bridge. I had my photo taken on the bridge as well
Peter Gittins in Stirling, Scotland wrote (1,150 days ago):
I walked across this symbolic bridge with friends on Saturday 6th August. My wife and I got married on 16th August 1969 which was a symbolic date. I too shed a tear as I remembered all that went on from the day we got married 42 years ago. Let peace reign.
michael in The maiden city wrote (1,194 days ago):
Nelson Mc Causland says "Physically and metaphorically it links what now are two communities and we hope will encourage greater levels of positive engagement between them." We have had two bridges doing that already. To lose £14 million on this waste of money is disasterous for both communities. When the community sector is falling apart with funding cuts this obviously uneducated yahoo says this bridge (which we already have 2) is good for both communities is an insult to our intelligence. Our city is getting used and abused and the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. There is a bigger divide and it is now a class divide which causes more concern.
David G in Portrush wrote (1,195 days ago):
As an outsider to Northern Ireland, it was a lovely day at Derry today, seeing the opening of the marvellous Peace Bridge. A bright future for the city and no doubt Waterside residents can do their shopping on the Cityside with much greater ease. But let's hope Derry City Council and Translink can now have the foresight to go the extra mile with integrated transport. A walking path to the local railway station from the bridge would be good and even better, an actual rail stop at Derry City Airport as well. The Maiden City must be the only city in the UK or Ireland where trains whiz alongside an airport runway without stopping, and then residents - or travellers to other parts of the UK, like me - have to get a bus (if there is one), a lift or more likely, a taxi, back to the airport which they just passed.
Kieran Fox in Derry City wrote (1,195 days ago):
Today is another great day for our city. The past is never far behind but the future is only round the corner. The Peace bridge is another sign of Derry's innovation in moving forward, respecting our differences and working together for the betterment of society. Lets hope this can be a new beggining for us all.
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