‘Time or not’ for shirt factory sculpture

A scale model of the proposed shirt factory sculpture which, if granted planning permission, would be installed in Harbour Square at the rear of the Guildhall.
A scale model of the proposed shirt factory sculpture which, if granted planning permission, would be installed in Harbour Square at the rear of the Guildhall.

The artist responsible for a sculpture designed to celebrate Derry’s shirt factory past believes it is “time or not” for the future of the project.

Cork artist, Louise Walsh, gave a presentation to members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee in the Council Chamber in Strabane on Tuesday evening.

A scale model of the proposed shirt factory sculpture which, if granted planning permission, would be installed in Harbour Square at the rear of the Guildhall.

A scale model of the proposed shirt factory sculpture which, if granted planning permission, would be installed in Harbour Square at the rear of the Guildhall.

Miss Walsh brought along a scale model of the sculpture which, if granted planning permission, would be installed in Harbour Square, near the rear entrance to the Guildhall.

“I think this project is very important and I am still committed - it is time or not,” said Miss Walsh.

Miss Walsh was awarded the responsibility for the shirty factory sculpture in 2005 but as a result of, what she described as red-tape and bureaucracy, she withdrew from the project in April 2013. However, after receiving news that relevant agencies were keen to proceed with the project Miss. Walsh agreed to take up the responsibility for the sculpture again.

“I received a lot of support from the late Inez McCormack and Sinn Fein MLA, Maeve McLaughlin, who has been incredible. Former Mayor of Derry, Martin Reilly was of great support too.”

Committee Member, Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming, said he thought it was time for the project to move on to the planning application stage.

“It’s time for this to go before the planners,” said Colr. Fleming. “I think the scale model looks fantastic and it will bring something to that part of the city.

Committee Member, SDLP Councillor, John Boyle, proposed sending a delegation to meet with member of the Department for Social Development (DSD) to try and free up what he described as the “log jam”. The DSD is partly responsible for the future of the project.

“This project is of tremendous value to the people of the city therefore I would like to propose that the committee send a small delegation to meet with the DSD Minister to try and get this log jam moving once and for all,” said Colr. Boyle.

Colr. Boyle’s proposal was seconded by SDLP Councillor, Shauna Cusack.

A council officer told the committee that he believed the existing shirt factory sculpture design would receive planning approval if a few small altercations were made.

A decision on the future of the shirt factory sculpture is expected soon.