President to visit Derry

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President Mary McAleese is to speak at the First Derry Presbyterian Church this Thursday.

The Irish President, who steps down in a few weeks, will visit Derry on the invitation of Reverend David Latimer.

It’s the beginning of a ‘Conversations across walls and borders’ project at the First Derry Presbyterian Church.

Rev. Latimer has also invited speakers from Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers, as well as Richard Moore, the founder of Children In Crossfire and the British soldier who blinded him when he shot him with a rubber bullet.

The Church is gearing itself up for a series of high profile lectures in 2013 with four smaller events in the coming months.

Billed as an event to ‘bring the two communities together’, Rev. Latimer stated that the speakers from the Glasgow footballing giants would appeal to young male members of the community in particular.

“This is not a series of talks aimed at the First Derry Presbyterian Community, it is for all the people of the city no matter their religious affiliation.”

Reverend Latimer said: “I am delighted that President McAleese has agreed to launch the project this week. It is very exciting that the series will be opened by someone of her stature.”

The Foyle and Londonderry and St. Mary’s College Choirs are to perform for President McAleese on Thursday. After her speech, the President will participate in a panel discussion chaired by BBCs William Crawley.

The event is free of charge and anyone wishing to attend should contact the City Centre Initiative, First Derry Presbyterian Church or St. Eugene’s Cathedral for tickets.

Rev. Latimer has challenged those responsible for the graffiti which criticsed his comments on the leadership qualities of Sinn Fein MP and Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness to meet him face to face.

“It would be better for those responsible to come and talk to me face to face,” he said.