British Prime Minister David Cameron is planning to make his first visit to Derry during its City of Culture celebrations, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan says the Tory leader has indicated to him that he hopes to travel to Derry to attend one of the 2013 events.
The former SDLP leader says Mr. Cameron “will now be trying to schedule dates with existing diary commitments.” If he does come to Derry, it will be his first visit to the city since his historic apology for the Bloody Sunday murders.
Mr. Cameron said he was “deeply sorry” for the January 1972 killings which he branded “unjustified and unjustifiable” following the publication of the Saville Inquiry report in June 2010.
Also lined up to visit Derry for the City of Culture celebrations is Taoiseach Enda Kenny who last week, alongside David Cameron, spoke with Mark Durkan about the year-long event.
Mr. Durkan told the ‘Journal’: “It would be great if David Cameron could find the time to visit Derry during 2013. He has expressed an interest to me on a number of occasions and has said he would like to come as a visitor to Derry to enjoy an aspect of the City of Culture programme.
“He has also taken a number of queries from his colleagues who are hoping to put forward strong bids for the next City of Culture award in 2017. We also mentioned the Return of Colmcille event in June and the fact that St. Columba’s mosaic is in the Central Lobby of the Palace of Westminster. St. Columba transcended both islands and symbolises the historic linkages and deep bonds between Ireland and Britain.” Mr. Durkan said a recent event at Westminster - at which the year’s programme had been promoted - underscored Derry’s “cultural strength as a city of integrity, richness and strong traditions.”