Sinn Fein councillor Colly Kelly takes a look back at some of the highlights of 2013 and looks forward to the year ahead.
I think 2013 was the year Derry came of age and opened a new chapter in our city’s history and offered new hope for our young people. For me it was great to see the City of Culture going beyond the large scale events and reaching out into local communities with the likes of the Music Promise and just a few weeks ago we had stunning Lumiere festival with dozens of children from across city being part of film during the spectacular light show at Ebrington.
Suppose we can’t leave Ebrington without mentioning One Big Weekend. Funnily enough I had been lobbying for large outdoor concerts in the city on the Mark Patterson show and a few days later the event was announced. I want to make it clear contrary to reports at the time that I hadn’t been in contact with Derren Brown and the praise must go to all those locally who had been working on it. Who would ever have thought we would have the likes of the Script, Bruno Mars in concert here and Robbie Williams running out in front of the stage shouting “hello Derry”; just class.
The most important thing we need to do is harness all the positives from the past year and build on them. We need to get Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann back to Derry, we need to support the proposal for Derry to be the next Irish City of Culture and must maximise the publicity that Derry has got throughout the past year to draw down investment and bring in new jobs. The recent announcement of nearly 200 jobs at Fujitsu is hopefully the first signs we are turning a corner but change won’t come about unless we all work collectively to achieve it.
As an avid sports fan it’s exciting times ahead with the announcement of the multi-million pound investment at the Brandywell Stadium, showgrounds and the Daisyfield.
Finally I cannot comment on 2013 without mentioning the Culture Minister Caral NiChuilin who was adopted by the people Derry for the past year. Her energy and support for Derry has been second to none and her recent announcement of opening a new department North-West Office in Derry is testament to that.
Roll on 2014.