‘Put away your guns’: group’s plea

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Derry’s political, statutory, business and community leaders have joined forces to urge dissident factions to “put away your guns and bombs and bring to an end the misery caused by violence.”

Derry’s political, statutory, business and community leaders have joined forces to urge dissident factions to “put away your guns and bombs and bring to an end the misery caused by violence.”

The Unity of Purpose organisation last night issued a New Year message in which it said 2013 would be a year “like no other”.

The statement - signed by politicians from both sides of the community as well as key players in the education, business and community sectors - added that the new year had the “capacity to transform lives and reshape” the city “as One City, One Community and One People.”

The statement adds: “As leaders across the political, statutory and community and business sectors, we commit ourselves to providing leadership by working together in the shared interests of all our people and acting as advocates for each other and for all the people of this region.”

It adds: “We are poised to tell the world a new story of peace and hope for prosperity in the future for all our people...

“As we look forward to 2013 and beyond, we must create the necessary conditions to achieve change together. We must not let budgetary constraints or bureaucracy frustrate our sense of civic purpose to deliver the agreed priorities. We can and will develop strong working relationships with Government to create a dynamic enabling environment capable of stimulating the economy, growing our university and increasing our capacity to create and sustain jobs.”

“Our task in taking this city and region forward is to put in place a road map for change by continuing to build on the progress already achieved...”

Unity of Purpose New Year Message 2013

From: Leaders in the political, statutory and community and business sectors:

The Year 2013 will, as no other year, present this city and region with a set of unique opportunities and challenges that have the capacity to transform lives and reshape Derry, Londonderry as One City, One Community and One People.

As leaders across the political, statutory and community and business sectors, we commit ourselves to providing leadership by working together in the shared interests of all our people and acting as advocates for each other and for all the people of this region.

The One Plan is the result of the creative thinking of people from every walk of life coming together to produce a plan for a forward looking city. Proposals are in place and funding secured to develop the physical infrastructure connecting the city by road and rail fit for purpose for the future growth and expansion of our local economy. Works on the new railway and the Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin are already underway. The Peace Bridge is internationally recognised as a symbol of peace and hope for a new shared future. Our riverside and city streetscape is being transformed before our eyes presenting the city as a place of history and culture moving ever closer to achieving its potential as a vibrant, creative and sustainable cultural powerhouse.

And this is just the beginning. We know that despite these achievements we continue to face demanding challenges in creating the dynamic environment needed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. While we welcome the recent announcement of 250 new places at Magee we must continue to press for strategic investment for university expansion, for infrastructure and for employment.

We are poised to tell the world a new story of peace and hope for prosperity in the future for all our people. We turned out in our thousands in June of this year to welcome the Clipper Race to our city and had a glimpse of the previously unimagined potential for change that exists and the possibilities that await in the years to come. As we look forward to 2013 and beyond, we must create the necessary conditions to achieve change together. We must not let budgetary constraints or bureaucracy frustrate our sense of civic purpose to deliver the agreed priorities. We can and will develop strong working relationships with Government to create a dynamic enabling environment capable of stimulating the economy, growing our university and increasing our capacity to create and sustain jobs.

For those who say ‘nothing has changed’, we say “the evidence of change is all around us”. For those who would continue to advocate the use of force, threat or violence against any of our people or any part of our city, we say “put away your guns and bombs and bring to an end the misery caused by violence”.

For our part, our task in taking this city and region forward is to put in place a road map for change by continuing to build on the progress already achieved. We will create within this city an enabling culture founded on a cohesive and harmonious team spirit capable of delivering the One Plan through direct access to the decision makers in Government. In doing this we reach out to all the people of our city and invite you to play your part in making this a better place in which to live.

We take this opportunity of wishing you all a very peaceful and prosperous 2013.