More than £2 million worth of European ‘peace’ money has been earmarked to create a new visitors’ centre at the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall in Derry.
The funding - from the European Union’s PEACE III Programme - will help develop a new interpretive facility called the ‘Siege Heroes Museum and Shared Space Visitors Centre’.
It’s designed to educate people about the Great Siege of 1689 and build upon cross-community outreach work already undertaken by the Apprentice Boys.
Match-funding for the overall £3.2m. project has been provided by the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, in the Republic. Assistance has also been supplied by the NI Tourist Board and the Apprentice Boys.
The existing Memorial Hall at Society Street will also be refurbished as part of the project.
Among the first to welcome the funding was Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell: “I look forward to seeing this project being delivered to create a new visitor centre and shared space for the city,” he said.
Shaun Henry, Director at the Special EU Programmes Body, which manages the EU’s PEACE III Programme, added: “Upon completion, the new visitors centre and refurbished Memorial Hall will enable the Apprentice Boys of Derry to promote mutual respect and tolerance with all sections of society through a greater understanding of our shared past.”
Apprentice Boys General Secretary Billy Moore said: “This project will assist the Protestant community to play their role in being part of a shared city where all traditions are welcomed and valued.”
Minister Phil Hogan T.D., of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, added: “This project has great potential to enrich our understanding of the history of the city.”