Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

SF concerned over Derry's UK City of Culture bid

Derry
Derry is hoping to become the UK's City of Culture 2013

The leader of Sinn Fein on Derry City Council has voiced concerns about the city's bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2013.

Maeve McLaughlin said she was not opposed to the bid, but she did not support it in its current form.

"I have yet to be convinced this bid as it currently stands reflects the views of Irish nationalists and republicans."

The SDLP MP for Foyle Mark Durkan has accused Sinn Fein of engaging in "damaging" behaviour.

A council spokesperson said there was cross-party support for the bid and ambition to become UK City of Culture.

But Ms McLaughlin said she believed the bid was "very heavily weighted in terms of cementing our relationship with London".

Republicans

Why on earth would they plump for a city whose elected representatives are divided on whether we should take the accolade if they're awarded it?
Gregory Campbell
DUP MP

"While we are a city of culture there has to be a recognition that we're not part of the UK.

"We are not opposing the bid, but we are putting down a marker at this stage and saying we should be exploring, rather than cementing, this relationship.

"There is a huge onus on the team that's been put together to lead this bid to put in writing how they will address the issue of the tens of thousands of nationalists and republicans in this city and region who do not recognise themselves as part of the UK," she said.

Mr Durkan said the bid was an opportunity for the city to promote its "civic and cultural ambition".

He added: "It has nothing to do with political aspiration - in which the people of this city have very clear views and differences about wanting to be part of a United Ireland or United Kingdom.

"Are we going to say that any other funding or opportunity that is set up on a UK basis we count ourselves out of? We should not be disabling ourselves from making the most of any opportunity to which we are entitled to as anyone else."

Divided

DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said: "If I wanted to be facetious I would say that at the very outset of this bid, the clue was in the name, 'UK City of Culture'.

"Why on earth would they plump for a city whose elected representatives are divided on whether we should take the accolade if they're awarded it?"

Derry, Sheffield, Norwich and Birmingham have been shortlisted for the City of Culture title.

The four cities now have until 28 May to develop and submit their full and final bids before the winning city is announced in June.



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SEE ALSO
UK City of Culture list unveiled
10 Sep 09 |  Entertainment
Plans for British City of Culture
07 Jan 09 |  Entertainment

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