Factory Girls sculpture ‘a priority’ in year ahead

Shirt factory workers in Bishop Street in the 1960s.
Shirt factory workers in Bishop Street in the 1960s.

The chair of the council’s new Business & Culture Committee, Shauna Cusack, said that she plans to make sure pressure is kept on to deliver the long-awaited Factory Girls sculpture during her time in the office.

Colr. Cusack was speaking at the inaugural meeting of the committee following the local council elections back in May.

The SDLP representative told the returning and new members that while on the Business & Culture Committee they “get to have an input into exciting opportunities and projects designed to benefit our city and district.

“We are here to promote all the good work being done in our city and district,” she said, while highlighting recent successes at the Spirit of NI and NI Tourism Awards and the forthcoming Youth 19 Festival, which begins at the end of the month.

Colr. Cusack said the Factory Girls project - which has been beset by delay after delay since it was first mooted over a decade ago - must be advanced.

“This is a very important priority for me this year to make sure we resurrect the sculpture project. They have been neglected for far too long and we want to get that done as soon as possible.”

Derry City & Strabane District Council last October signalled its intension of commissioning a new £90,000 commemorative monument.

This involved abandoning long held plans to install a 2006 project commissioned from Louise Walsh but which was hampered due to problems with the release of funding and with the original location chosen by officials and then further issues with the relocation site.

Councillors said back in October last year that they hoped a new work will be in place by October, 2019.

The decision to discontinue the previous process had been taken by funder of the ‘Factory Girls’ project, the Department for Communities.

Colr. Cusack said she was also keen to see council officers take forward the ‘City Deal’ plans for the “maximum benefit of all.”