President Michael D. Higgins has hailed the people of Derry as the “creative influence” behind the Irish peace process.
Mr. Higgins made his remarks during a day-long visit to the city today (Tuesday).
Speaking at an event at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster, he said the city of Derry and its people had, in many ways, “led the process of transformational change” across the North.
He added: “The kind of imaginative vision and creative generosity that has been shown at political and community level in Derry has had a transformational impact across Northern Ireland and, indeed, the whole island.”
The President said he was “full of hope” for a “great future for this island and this city.”
“We have come so far and through such dark times, with the people of Derry leading the way out of conflict; showing how a society can transform itself and the positive role that a rich culture and a cohesive community can play in that transformation.
“Next year’s Derry/Londonderry City of Culture is both a worthy recognition of the greatness you have achieved thus far and a promise of so much more to come in the future. I really look forward to coming back in 2013 and being part of that wonderful celebration.”
During his visit to the city, President Higgins also visited Rosemount Primary School - where he launched its centenary celebrations - and St Columb’s Cathedral.
See Friday’s Journal for comprehensive coverage of President Higgins’ visit to Derry.