The fact that Stormont ministers were in Derry yesterday to announce millions of pounds of funding for a number of key projects in the city centre shows that Derry is at last beginning to get its fair share of investment.
For far too long the only announcements Derry got from Stormont brought bad news but in recent years the tide has turned and we are starting to reap the benefits of a locally elected and locally controlled Executive.
The next 18 months are vitally important for Derry and while we may at times have been slow off the mark in making sure we get all the finding we can, the money is at last starting to roll in.
The funding packages announced for the renovation of the Guildhall, the expansion of the City Hotel, and improvement work at what is often described as Derry’s ugliest building at Waterloo Place is, of course, to be welcomed in terms of improving the image of the city and help attract tourists.
This should not be regarded as some sort of ‘special’ funding for Derry; it is simply our entitlement. While we are, or course, grateful for the money, local citizens will expect our political and civic leaders to continue, and indeed step up, efforts to attract more funding to the city.
Repairing and improving landmark buildings in the city centre will help market Derry as a location for business and tourism. However, government funding will have to make up for the under-investment of the past and improve the quality of life for local people if it is to have a lasting legacy.