DSD pressed on factory girls

Councillor Maeve Mclaughlin.  (2802JB12)
Councillor Maeve Mclaughlin. (2802JB12)

Sinn Féin’s Maeve McLaughlin wants DSD Minister Nelson McCausland to intervene to ensure a sculpture honouring Derry’s shirt factory girls is in place for 2013.

Her call follows growing concerns over ongoing time delays with the project.

Councillor McLaughlin said: “I met with the artist Louise Walsh and a number of those who have been lobbying for the sculpture and they are very concerned by the ongoing time delays with this project.

I have now written to the Department for Social Development (DSD) Minister Nelson McCausland and asked for him to directly intervene and ensure that the Factory Girls Sculpture is in place at Harbour Square for City of Culture year 2013.

“At a recent meeting with DSD and Derry City Council, it was agreed that the preferred location was indeed Harbour Square and that ongoing work would take place with the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) and a bid for additional funds would be presented to the Permanent Secretary.

“It is very important that we get clarification on timescales for this project to ensure this vital part of our city’s heritage is completed as speedily as possible.

“We cannot go on indefinitely revisiting this situation every few months and find out we are no further forward.”

Louise Walsh started work on the sculpture in 2006. It had been originally planned the piece would be located at King Street in the Waterside.

However, due to planning problems, the location was then changed to Harbour Square.

Ongoing works in the area delayed the completion of the sculpture even further.

The artist has said she remains fully committed to the Factory Girls project.

“It has been a tough process but I have a huge commitment to it,” she said earlier this year. “The design came from a lot of consultation with the shirt factory women who made a huge contribution to the city’s history.”