Culture minister Caral Ní Chuilín has said all communities in Derry must benefit from the legacy of the City of Culture year.
The minister was in Derry last week for several engagements in a number of areas of the city.
The first item on the minister’s itinerary was a visit to the offices of the Culture Company at Ebrington to discuss the City of Culture programme.
Ms Ní Chuilín, a regular visitor to Derry, then visited Hillcrest House in the Top of the Hill area where she met a number of local community groups to discuss sports provision in the area and other issues.
She also met with representatives of Sean Dolans’ GAA club in Creggan to see how the club is rebuilding following an arson attack which destroyed the club house in 2011.
Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Ms Ní Chuilín praised the work of the Culture Company to date.
“I think the Culture Company are doing a great job. The programme is the most inclusive I have ever seen,” she said. Ms Ní Chuilín said while the major events are important, the real impact of the City of Culture will be felt in the impact it has on local communities. “It is important for me to come to communities, not just in terms of the City of Culture programme itself but also to address the legacy issues.
“There has been huge under investment in the city for decades and I make no apology for highlighting that. Estates like Gobnascale have experienced some of the worst kinds of deprivation and continue to. They want to know how they can get involved in the events,” she said.
The minister also said the first events of the year have been success. “I think that the year of City of Culture events has gotten off to a great start with the Sons and Daughters event and the boxing at Ebrington, both of which I attended.
“I was talking to young people at the boxing and they were so proud and exciting about walking out and competing in a big arena. It was a really big opportunity for them and they really appreciated it.
“That is what City of Culture should be all about, providing opportunities for our young people,” she said.
Ms Ní Chuilín said that Derry is “becoming a second home” because of her regular visits.
“It is important for me to come to Derry, not just in terms of the City of Culture but also to find out how Derry is progressing and what it is lacking in terms of meeting our commitments.