‘Anger’ over no Derry bid for ‘City of Music’ as Belfast gets UNESCO status

The awarding of the City of Music status by UNESCO to Belfast has caused ‘a lot of anger’ in Derry, according to Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle.

The Ballyarnett councillor raised the matter at the November meeting of Derry and Strabane Council after he had been contacted by a number of ‘very unhappy musicians and cultural ambassadors’ over the last number of weeks.

The accolade was recently awarded to Belfast due to its ‘rich musical heritage’ following a bid by Belfast City Council. The accolade has previously been awarded to Liverpool in 2015 and Glasgow in 2008.

Councillor Doyle said the anger has arisen because ‘we as a Council did not progress any bid given our history with music and the arts and given that it is something we are very proud of in our city and district.’ He added: “I have to say there is a lot of anger out there that Belfast City Council had the brass neck to use the Undertones and music that was written by Phil Coulter as part of their bid.”

Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle.

He added that one airline was “now promoting Belfast as the City of Music and adding that to their tourism offering”. “Derry is the city of music, it’s not Belfast, it never has been going right back to Cecil Frances Alexander, right up to the present day. In future, decisions like this should be going through the council, not a working group,” Colr. Doyle claimed.

Colr. Doyle also informed Members that a meeting has already been set up between himself and senior Council officials. 

By Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter