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Joint First Minister McGuinness addresses the All-Ireland city regions conference

15 January, 2009

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MP MLA, told a conference in Derry today that urban regeneration activities will help transform not just the city, but the hopes and prospects of all the people living there.

The conference, held in the Calgach Centre, focused on the way forward for meeting challenges and improving the urban environment in a more sustainable manner.

Mr McGuinness said: "Regeneration is not only about the physical aspects of renewal but also about bringing to the community new opportunities that will provide a brighter future."

"This is a pivotal time for urban regeneration. Even in the current global economic downturn we must take a long-term view and invest in the infrastructure, services and facilities available to Derry and the wider North West region."

The Minister went on to emphasise the importance of involving community representatives in developing policy on regeneration: "Communities must have a voice in shaping their own destinies, for they know better than most what will work and what will not work."

Mr McGuinness also paid tribute to the work of Mr Bill Kirk, the out-going Chief Executive of the urban regeneration body, Ilex, who steps down from his post in March.

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