EU funding unit for Derry Council

£90,000 from the city’s annual rates is to go towards providing a dedicated EU funding unit for Derry City Council.

The unit will aim to attract much-needed EU investment and, according to Sinn Fein’s Maeve McLaughlin, ensure Derry doesn’t miss out on “millions available through various EU funding streams.”

Councillor McLaughlin said: “This is very positive news and something Sinn Féin have been lobbying on for some time now. “As we head towards the preparations for City of Culture 2013, I feel it’s very important that Derry does not miss out on the millions of European funding that may be available.

“As a city, we need to follow the example of Belfast which is able to draw down millions each year in funds. These opportunities will not be landed on our doorstep, we need to go looking, it’s as simple as that,.”

Colr. McLaughlin says Derry’s City of Culture success was “obviously a vote of confidence in the city and it offers up tremendous economic opportunities.”

“It is now vital that we seize those opportunities and ensure that the benefits created are felt by all the citizens of Derry,” she added.

Meanwhile, Derry City Council has agreed a 2.2% increase in the annual rates, the lowest rate ever recorded for the city.

In real terms, this rise represents a 34p increase per week to the average residential ratepayer.

Chairperson of the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, Gerard Diver, said that, when setting the rate, Council acknowledged the exceptional opportunities that exist as the city and region prepares for 2013 and beyond.

“The 2.2% increase realises the immediate opportunity to invest and support a series of projects that will transform the physical fabric of the city and bring about positive change for business, tourism and community wellbeing,” he said.