McGuinness in talks on Clipper future for Derry

Martin McGuinness pictured at the quayside over the weekend. (Picture Charlie mcMenamin).
Martin McGuinness pictured at the quayside over the weekend. (Picture Charlie mcMenamin).
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said that all avenues will be explored to try and ensure that the successful partnership between Derry and Clipper will continue.

Mr. McGuinness was speaking as he enjoyed the festivities in the city over the weekend, ahead of the Clipper fleet departing on Sunday.

The Foyle MLA met with the Chief Executive of Derry & Strabane Council John Kelpie on Friday to discuss the matter and said he was also bringing it to the table of his Executive colleagues.

The future funding of the Clipper partnership - around which the Foyle Maritime Festival has grown - now rests in the hands of politicians at Council and Assembly level.

Mr. McGuinness said the Clipper Festival “is always a fabulous experience and a great attractor for tourists.”

“The Clipper and the Maritime Festival have really caught people’s imagination,” he said.

“The amount of people it brings to the quayside is absolutely phenomenal. Where people previously looked away from the river, now they are looking at it as one of the most important features of the city.

“We now want to explore the possibility that we could bring Clipper back. It is quite an expensive thing to do and I will be looking into whether we, at an Executive level, can relieve that burden and we are effectively going to explore all the models we can.

“I would be very disappointed if this was the last time we saw the Clipper.”