Derry’s Culture year has brought a new air of confidence and pride to the city, according to Mayor Martin Reilly.
Councillor Reilly says the events of 2013 “fill us with a great sense of achievement and give us all new hope for the future.”
In his Christmas and New Year message, the First Citizen says a “tremendous amount of work and effort has gone into making 2013 the huge success that it is and I would like to acknowledge the role everyone has played in contributing to that success.”
The Mayor added: “2013 has been a fantastic year in terms of our city stepping up a gear as the City of Culture and, while the economy in general has faced a lot of difficulties and there are more people than ever who are struggling to find work, feed their families and pay their bills, we remain hopeful that the legacy of 2013 will see a transformation and bring about a sea change for our communities. I would like to assure the public that I will continue to work alongside my colleagues to ensure we all reap the benefits of 2013 and beyond.”
2013, says the Mayor, brought about new investment and a sense of achievement and confidence for the future.
“More than £100m has been invested in capital infrastructure in the run up to the City of Culture year with the transformation of Ebrington, the restoration of the Guildhall and the new lighting strategy and the recent investment to regenerate the Brandywell Stadium, to name but a few. There are plans afoot for a new multi-purpose arena at St Columb’s Park and, following the increased demand for accommodation, there are two planning applications for new city centre hotels. One of the most exciting legacy plans is the new national storytelling centre and maritime museum planned for 2016.”
Mayor Reilly says that, while there were many highlights over the year, his personal favourite was Music City Day when he took to the skies at dawn in a hot air balloon.
“It was a truly thrilling experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the city at its best and to be part of the huge Music City celebration that saw thousands of musicians taking to the streets and performing.”
He says a hugely important factor of the year has been the participation of so many diverse citizens from all walks of life and all parts of the city coming together to celebrate culture and heritage and to enjoy the city’s offering.
“Culture year has shown us that we have the ability to host major events and showcase our local talents and tell our new story to the world.”