An independent candidate for the European Election, who wants to advance cross-community dialogue, will host a public meeting in Derry city centre tomorrow night.
Former Mayor of Dundalk, Neil McCann, is one of 11 candidates and said he plans to move from his current base in Belfast to Derry if he secures one of three MEP seats in the North.
Mr McCann will host a public meeting in the City Hotel on Wednesday, May 15, at 7.30 pm and has urged people to discuss matters of importance with him.
Speaking in Derry yesterday, Mr McCann, who is a barrister and also a former Green Party candidate, said: “What has become clear in the course of our campaign is that although I always thought Belfast was the centre of the action, actually the true spirit of Northern Ireland is to be found in Derry, so for that reason we are going to focus on Derry for the last week. I believe Derry carries a very special place in Irish history and in Ireland’s future.”
Mr McCann, who has links to the Inch Fort Project in Inishowen, said he has been to Derry many times. “I am not a stranger, but I can’t say I know city very well so we are having this meeting on Wednesday night to have an exchange with local people so that my team and I can learn how to represent Derry properly in the European Union.
“Cross-community dialogue is my platform and I want to organise a series of citizens’ forums with official recognition, one of which would be here. I would envisage five for the whole North, so if elected I will organise them and if not elected I will work on doing it anyway. It will give a citizen focus to the governance of Northern Ireland and it’s future and I believe education is at the heart of the future,” he said.
Mr McCann said other issues of importance for him include the environment, while his stance on Brexit is “remain within a reformed European Union.” He is also calling on the Irish Government to step in to safeguard Irish citizens in the North set to be affected by the end of mitigations to Welfare Reform next year. He said that this would be an extension of the European health insurance cover the government has already pledged to citizens post-Brexit.