Evening Task force mooted for Derry as city ‘shuts down’ at 6pm

SDLP Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr has proposed the establishment of an Evening Task Force to ‘energise’ Derry City and Strabane’s night-time potential.

By Brendan McDaid
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 12:26 pm

The Foyleside Councillor said the Council-led taskforce would examine how other cities and towns on this island and beyond have expanded their night-time sectors.

Colr. Seenoi-Barr was due to raise the proposal at Thursday evening’s Full Council meeting.

“With our annual jazz and big band festival, Maritime Festival and our world-renowned Halloween celebration, Derry has a proven track record of being the cultural capital of the North, if not Ireland,” she said.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

Derry SDLP Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr. DER1319GS-033

“Despite being the fourth-largest city on the island, Derry’s evening and the night-time sector has serious untapped potential, especially when compared to similarly-sized cities and towns.

“Our city essentially shuts down at 6pm, with only a limited range of cafés and other amenities available. There isn’t much choice for people who want to experience something other than a night out.

“I am bringing forward my motion to set up an Evening Sector Taskforce to examine how other places have expanded their night-time sectors, especially the challenges they have overcome – for example around safety, availability of transport, suitability for different age groups and the provision of no-cost activities. We then need to examine the initiatives which will bring people into the city centre. Nightlife in Derry tends to be associated with alcohol, but a growing number of young people do not drink and would welcome alternatives.”

Issues that might prevent people from coming into the city at night also need to be examined, Colr. Seenoi-Barr said.

“I was delighted with the recent announcement from SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon on a late night bus service for the festive period and the successful late bus services during the Hallowe’en weekend, this is a crucial part of what’s needed here.

“I have asked the taskforce to focus minds on how we can best build on what we currently have to revitalize our nighttime economy here to make Derry an up and coming city for the future with a thriving economy, morning, noon and night.”