Council and Culture Company must end ‘turf squaring’

Mark Durkan MP.

Mark Durkan MP.

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SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has called for an end to the public bickering between Derry City Council and the Culture Company.

Mr Durkan branded the rift between the two public bodies ‘turf-squaring’ and charged both to focus instead on discharging the remainder of the City of Culture mandate and ensuring its optimum legacy.

He called on both to bury the hatchet over their recent public differences, adding that so much had been right about Derry’s City of Culture year.

Mr Durkan said: “Given all the successes and highlights of this year, it is obvious that not only has somebody somewhere done something right but a lot of people have done a lot of things right.

“We also need to marshal that same talent, work and will for the remainder of this special year.

“Culture company staff, Council staff and the many delivery partners in our cultural sector deserve acknowledgement and encouragement,” he added.

He said it was inevitable that there would be “tensions, apprehensions, doubts and differences” during the course of delivering such an ambitious and extensive calendar of events.

“A great year for the city thanks to all concerned should not be defined or undermined by the portrayal of working disagreements or executive exchanges.

“The Council, Culture Company and all the other essential deliverers of an eventful, enjoyable year should know and show that they have the confidence of the city and of each other in discharging the remainder of the City of Culture mandate and ensuring the optimum legacy,” Mr Durkan said.

It is now important that public debate be embraced on “new issues, ideas, options and ambitions to be discussed and determined”, the MP said.

“The important thing is to conduct it as positive, purposeful discussion recruiting the insights and talents of culture activists and other civic interests and not portrayed as turf-squaring between different authorities and agencies.”