Irish Government must champion Derry, Strabane & Belfast EU City of Culture bid - Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile
Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile called on the Irish Government to become "champions" for Belfast and Derry/Strabane's joint bid to become the EU City of Culture in 2023.
Speaking from Leinster House this afternoon, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said;
"I welcome the positive words and active support from the Leader of the Seanad for the Belfast-Derry City of Culture bid given the positive experience in his home city of Cork.
"Derry, Strabane and Belfast all voted to remain in the EU.
"The Councils for those areas have put together a significant joint-bid to host this prestigious title in 2023. Both are beacons for culture, music, progress, the arts, inclusivity and diversity.
"They deserve the opportunity to advance with their much supported and impressive bids.
"It is deeply disappointing that the EU Commission has decided that the selection process for the city of culture should be discontinued as a consequence of the British Government’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.
"Here is yet another tangible negative as a result of a Brexit being forced upon the people of the North against our will.
"The Irish Government must become champions for the #WeAre2023 bid at an EU level. The people of the North voted to remain. The Government must support the Belfast and Derry bids as much as they would Dublin, Galway and Cork.
"A unified and coordinated approach with friends can help us influence change and work to reverse this negative and politically punitive move by the EU."