Bombers are fighting a losing battle - US consul

The US Consul General Kamala Lakdhir says the people who bombed the City of Culture office in Derry are fighting a losing battle.

She was in Derry on Friday to attend the Chamber of Commerce dinner, but made a point of calling in to inspect the damage to office caused by a bomb attack last week.

“When I heard the City of Culture office has been attacked I was worried first of all for the people that work here,” she said.

“I was sad that people would waste their energy to destroy something rather than create something and attack something focused on culture and community.

“That they would destroy sculpture without thought. It seemed pointless and unfortunately that seems to be their motto, doing pointless things to damage rather than to create.

“City of Culture is such a huge opportunity for Derry because there are tremendous links between culture and bringing economic prosperity.

“It’s also a chance to have huge numbers of people coming to the city and they will experience the things about Derry that make it special.”

The US Consulate actively supported Derry’s bid to become the first UK City of Culture and Ms Lakdhir, a Harvard graduate who is from Brooklyn, New York, says they realised from an early stage how important it would be for the continuing development of the city.

“Hopefully Derry will find lots of new networks that will be a benefit to the city,” she said.

“That’s why the Consulate and the US Government was so supportive of the bid because of all the follow on consequences of winning.

“It can only benefit the city and the people that live here, but also Northern Ireland as a whole will benefit. People are going to come to events here but they are going to pass through Belfast and other places. That’s why Derry as City of Culture is such a great opportunity.“

Ms Lakdhir is a frequent visitor to the city and was here for the reopening of First Derry Presbyterian Church and the opening of the Peace Bridge earlier this year.

“They were both wonderful occasions but I try to come to the city at least once a month if not more because there are so many wonderful things happening in Derry at the minute, it is such a vibrant place” she said.

“For me the Peace Bridge opening was a symbol of how well everyone gets along here and how everybody wants to see more prosperous.

“David Latimer was with us at the consulate talking about his plans for First Derry and the programme that he is working on for 2012 and 2013. We have offered him support in what he wants to do I bringing people out to the church. To have all the communities of Derry coming out to the church is something significant that is happening.

“I had a great time at First Derry Presbyterian opening even though David asked me to speak unexpectedly.

“It was a wonderful day. It was fun and very important and that’s how I like to think of Derry where great things are happening but the people always like to have fun while doing them.”