The Council is writing to the Irish culture minister, Josepha Madigan, asking for Dublin’s support for Derry/Strabane’s joint bid with Belfast for the European Capital of Culture title in 2023.
Nationalist and republican councillors approved a motion, tabled by Sinn Féin councillor Caomihe McKnight, requesting the local authority write to Minister Madigan and the Oireachtas Committee of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht asking that the Irish Government and legislature lobby the European Commission on Derry’s behalf.
Colr. McKnight said she believed that as a co-signatory of the Good Friday Agreement the Dublin Government was “duty bound to assist cities and citizens in the North”. She also said the potential economic and social benefits of securing the title were huge and that all avenues should be explored in trying to progress the bid.
DUP Alderman David Ramsey, opposing the motion, pointed out that the the city and Council area were part of the UK, and that it was the UK’s and Hungary’s turn to host the bid in the 2023 round.
Ald. Ramsey said he was pleased Galway would be hosting the European Capital of Culture for Ireland in 2020 but said Dublin had no role in the 2023 process.
SDLP Colr. Martin Reilly suggested, however, that by the time it came around again to Ireland’s turn to host the title - Ireland’s hosted the European Capital of Culture every 15 years roughly since the competition was initiated, “this part of the island may well be under the government of the Republic of Ireland”.