Long awaited Derry Factory Girls sculpture to be completed in 2023

Elected members approved the selection and appointment of an artist for the creation and installation of the artwork at a total cost of £190,000.

The artist at this stage has only been identified by the cipher ‘F’.

Delivering the report, Business and Culture Director, Stephen Gillespie said: “We are targeting completion by the end of next year and that’s everything done and dusted. Members will be aware of the Harbour Square redevelopment project, which incorporates the public realm works and the art sculpture which was formerly known as the Factory Girls sculpture.

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“To date we have been going through the process of designing the space and doing a competition for the art sculpture. On the basis of the moderating panel they have recommended that Artist F is successful and is taken forward.”

Factory workers marching in Derry.

Proposing the recommendation was accepted, SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack said: “Since I started in council in 2013, getting a fitting and permanent tribute to our factory workers, our heritage and our history has been a long and arduous journey to say the least.

“It’s great to see where we are right now and I know it’s going to be a relief to many, particularly the friends of the factories and  all those amazing factory women and men, to see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure everyone in this city is excited to see this artwork become a reality and something we can all enjoy.”

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SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell said: “This is fantastic news that an artist has been identified to deliver the long-awaited factory girls artwork which is going to cost £190,000 at Harbour Square.

Some of the former Derry factory girls who attended the recent launch of the Factory Girls Murals in the Craft Village. DER3419GS- 034

“It is important that we as a council recognise our shirt making heritage and the massive and valuable contribution that the factory girls have  made to the very fabric of our city. It is well deserved and it’s long overdue. They have been disappointed, they have been dejected and demoralised in the past when previous plans haven’t come to fruition so we are determined to get it right this time.”

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Councillors also approved the submission of an application to the Department for Communities (DfC) for the balance of the capital development phase of the redevelopment project to potentially include a match funding contribution of up to £170,000 from council.

The Harbour Square redevelopment project is an integral part of the Central Riverfront Development plan outlined within the City Deal proposal. It will see the creation of a public realm project featuring the Factory Girls artwork, and linking the historical core to a new and lively riverfront zone.  

Gillian Anderson

Former Derry factory girls pictured at the recent launch of the Factory Girls Murals in the Craft Village. DER3419GS – 033
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Local Democracy Reporter