St Columb’s restoration will ‘boost tourism’

The Mayor of Derry, Alderman Maurice Devenney, Dean William Morton and Howard Hastings, NITB, laying a brick at St Columb's Cathedral to mark the completion of the refurbishment project yesterday afternoon. (1006Sl50)
The Mayor of Derry, Alderman Maurice Devenney, Dean William Morton and Howard Hastings, NITB, laying a brick at St Columb's Cathedral to mark the completion of the refurbishment project yesterday afternoon. (1006Sl50)

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster says the completion of restoration work on St Columb’s Cathedral will help boost visitor numbers across the North.

Minister Foster was speaking at last night’s Service of Thanksgiving to mark the completion of the restoration project at the Cathedral which was constructed in 1633.

Among the guests to attend the event was Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Foyle MP Mark Durkan.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) contributed £2 million towards the £3.6 million restoration project through its Tourism Development Scheme.

Earlier in the day, the final brick in the restoration was laid by the Chair of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Mr. Howard Hastings at the Cathedral Gates in London Street.

At last night’s event, Arlene Foster said that, like so many of the North’s historic attractions, the Cathedral has a “wonderful story to tell.”

Martin McGuinness said he was “honoured and privileged” to have been invited to attend the Thanksgiving Service.

“While the Cathedral is primarily the seat of the Church of Ireland for the diocese of Derry and Raphoe, it also has massive historical significance to the City of Derry,” he said.

“The attendance at this service, and at the recent service at First Derry Presbyterian Church, is an example of how the leaders of all Derry’s churches have contributed to healing divisions and reflects the respect for diversity of the citizenship.

“We are working to build a better future for all and the contribution of the church leaders in this city has been crucial to that process.”

The city’s MP Mark Durkan said: “The newly refurbished Cathedral really enhances its landmark appeal.

“From my constituency office in Bishop Street, I have seen the restoration work going on outside. I am now really looking forward to seeing the transformation inside as well.

“It will be great to join Dean Morton in celebrating the refurbishment of this wonderful place of worship which his congregation and the many visitors to this city can enjoy.”