Two influential American politicians who are currently visiting Derry have said the city “can be a magnet” for global investors.
California Senator Loni Hancock arrived in Derry yesterday with her husband, Mayor of Berkley, Tom Bates, for a series of meetings with key stakeholders in the city.
The pair, both Democrats, met with representatives from Ilex, the City of Culture Company, the Mayor of Derry, and a number of others involved in the plans to regenerate Derry.
They also crossed the city’s new Peace Bridge and visited the Museum of Free Derry, as well as attending a commemoration to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of hunger striker, Kevin Lynch.
Their visit to the city followed an invitation from Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson.
Senator Hancock said that despite the global recession, Derry is still an attractive place for foreign investors.
“I think what Derry has going for it is a very well educated population of wonderful people who want to work. Northern Ireland, and Derry in particular, can be a magnet for venture capitalists from around the world,” she said.
Mayor Bates also praised Derry’s regeneration plans and said that “exciting times” lie ahead for Derry. “The plan is a road map to rebirth and regeneration. It is a great opportunity and it brings together all groups working towards the same goal. It is unique and very exciting,” he said.
He also said he plans to use elements of Derry’s plan when he returns to Berkeley. “We are trying to do something similiar in Berkeley and I will be looking to see if I can use Derry’s wonderful regeneration plans to influence our own,” he said.
Mayor Bates said he was particularly please to visit Free Derry Corner during his visit to the city. “It’s great to see this famous wall with the famous slogan, which, of course, was influenced by Berkeley, so it’s great to come here and make that link,” he said.