The Tánaiste Simon Coveney received a warm welcome at the Foyle Maritime Festival at the weekendon a trip to the North West during which he also visited the Bogside to express solidarity with those directly affected by last week’s street disturbances.
The visit took place following a special meeting with the Unity of Purpose Group, which is made up of local political and community leaders and statutory agencies, who met on Saturday morning to discuss ongoing issues in the Bogside area.
The Tánaiste said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the city today and to enjoy the festivities down along the quay for the Foyle Maritime Festival. This is the real Derry – the riverfront is buzzing with people and there is a great atmosphere with the Clipper Race fleet and great food, family fun and huge crowds. I would really recommend a visit!”
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Colr. John Boyle, said: “I welcome what was a significant gesture on behalf of the Irish Government in lending support to the work of the Unity of Purpose group.
“It was fantastic that the Tánaiste took time out of his extremely busy schedule to see the other side of our city and district today. Our growing reputation as an exciting destination for international visitors was sensationally showcased with the opening of the Foyle Maritime Festival, and local people were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with him out and about on the Quayside.
“Mr. Coveney told me he always loves visiting Derry and today gave him the chance to see the city at its very best. I want to thank him for his time today and for showing his support for achieving positive change here in the North West.”
The Tánaiste also visited Meenan Square in the Bogside on Saturday afternoon with elected representatives, community workers and local residents.
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan said: “It was a really positive and frank engagement giving a picture of what it has been like this last number of weeks.”
Her constituency colleage Raymond McCartney added: “In the days ahead we remain focused and will work with all those who want our City to prosper, our young people to have opportunity and our neighbourhoods to be safe.
“We should not be side tracked from this, nor permit anything to become a diversion from where the focus of our efforts should be. Anyone who works against this will be opposed by our collective strength and approach.”