COUNCIL ROW ERUPTS OVER ‘DERRY AND BELFAST’ CAPITAL OF CULTURE BID
A row has erupted between local councillors regarding the joint bid by Derry and Belfast to become European Capital of Culture 2023.
The row broke out during a Derry City and Strabane District Council meeting last night over proposed branding that referred to “Derry and Belfast”.
The DUP said the name “Londonderry” should be included because of its “cultural significance”.
Sinn Féin opposed that move.
DUP Councillor David Ramsey said: “This is a city bid and because it’s not a council bid the name Londonderry needs to be included.
“It’s very disappointing for the unionist community.
“I can’t understand why this became an issue. I asked early on why Londonderry wasn’t included.
“Sinn Féin’s out of touch here. Londonderry is the official name. We have never had an issue with Derry-Londonderry before.
“It’s a step back when it comes to our diverse history and it’s a major asset for tourism.”
Sinn Féin councillor Michael Cooper said: “We have to put this in front of an adjudicating panel. It’s already confusing having two cities in the title.
“Going to a bid with more names in the title would be a confusing situation.”
The joint bid for European Capital of Culture between Derry and Strabane District Council and Belfast City Council was announced two months ago.
Other cities like Leeds and Dundee are also preparing bids.
The Derry-Belfast bid has to be submitted to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport at Westminster by October this year.
The winner will be announced in late 2018 but it could cost up to £1 million.
Hosting the year-long programme of events can bring increased investment, create jobs and boost the local economy.
Three non-EU cities have held the title in the past – Istanbul in 2010, Stavanger in Norway in 2008 and Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2000.