Máirtín Ó Muilleoir speech to Ard Fheis 2015 live section

7 March, 2015

Cúis áthais is céiliúrtha é a bheith i nDoire Cholm Cille inniu.

What a privilege to be a guest of the nation in Derry. 

The town to which that sainted man of war and peace Colm Cille gave his name.

This cradle of civil rights which gave birth to an unstoppable uprising for dignity and equal treatment.

Hometown of Field Day and Friel, where Reading in the Dark is the perfect prologue to Teenage Kicks.

We all owe a debt to the great people of the town I loved so well who bore so much through many painful decades with grace and dignity.

No area was held back more than partition than the northwest. No area therefore has more potential upswing from a cross-border and United Ireland economy than Derry and Donegal.

And now it's time for all of us on this island to give back to Derry and to Donegal with a peace dividend which in its ambition and scope is a match for the talent and genius of the people of the Northwest.

I visited Derry recently in my capacity as a member of the Stormont Economy Committee and was inspired by the passion and drive of the entrepreneurs, business leaders, community organisers and public officials I met. I pay special tribute to Garvan O'Doherty, an ambassador for Derry, who, by helping negotiate a resolution to the parades issue in Derry, has shown Belfast the way.

And with its peace bridge, Siege Museum, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, resurgent Magee campus, Carthaginians and Butcher's Dozen, the Museum of Free Derry, glorious Peace Bridge and famed walls, Derry well-deserves its accolade as Ireland's cultural capital.

Seo an t-am anois le bheith cinnte go dtugtar díbhinn síochána do Dhoire agus do Thír Chonaill, díbhinn a churfeas dlús faoi ré nua eacnamíochta do phobail an iarthuaiscirt.

Our job in the time ahead is to make Derry not just a capital of culture but also a European capital of community and commerce. An economy which removes borders and puts up bridges will do just that.